Marital assets comprise of those assets acquired during the course of the marriage, except for inheritances and certain gifts. During the divorce process, marital assets must be identified, valued, and divided in a fair manner. When it comes to financial assets such as bank and investment accounts, this task is fairly straightforward. But there are some types of assets that can present special challenges.
For example, how do you value one-of-a-kind items? What if a particular type of item is sparsely traded of the market is temporarily illiquid? What about intangible items such as digital assets? In this blog post we will discuss the division of unusual assets in divorce.
Valuing and dividing these types of assets can be problematic:
- Art, antiques and collectibles
- Student debts that were partially incurred before the marriage and partially during the marriage
- Intellectual property such as patents and copyrights, and licenses for those assets
- Business tax loss carryforwards and business tax debts
- Stock options and other types of deferred income
- Income-producing websites
- Digital assets such as Bitcoins and frequent flyer miles
- Thoroughbred horses and dogs that generate stud fee income
While the main focus of many people are rightly on "hard assets" such as bank accounts, IRAs and real property, it's important not to overlook unusual assets. An experienced divorce attorney will thoroughly review all types of assets, including financial assets, real estate, personal property, and unusual assets such as those listed above. That attorney will likely have access to appraisers, tax accountants, and other professionals who can provide guidance concerning valuation issues. Those professionals will also be prepared to defend their findings in court should a dispute arise over valuation matters.
If divorce lies in your future, make a list of all the assets owned by you and your spouse, whether they are separate assets or marital assets. You should also speak with an attorney concerning your case.