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Spliting assets amid divorce

Ending a marriage these days can be a costly experience, not only in Arizona but across the country. The financial ramifications of divorce can be astounding and definitely overwhelming. In a marriage, most couples may acquire many assets with shared ownership. During a split, questions may arise regarding these shared assets and what to do about them.

The home can be a big asset that separating spouses commonly have questions about. Determining the current value of the home is usually the first step to take. One common solution is to sell the home and divide the proceeds, which may only work if neither party has an attachment to the home. If one party would rather keep the home than sell it, a possible solution would be for one spouse could buy out the other spouse's half. Couples should also take inventory of things like furniture and other household items and divvy those out appropriately and fairly.

Another common shared asset is a vehicle. The solution here could be similar to the home. If both parties are paying on a vehicle, couples could sell the vehicle and split the proceeds. If one party wants to keep the vehicle, the other party could pay the other party his or her share.

Things such as 401(k)'s and retirement accounts can be tricky. With 401(k)'s, it is best to acquire a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This legal document will outline the way the 401(k) will be split and can help to avoid penalties and taxes. The funds in IRA's may be split according to divorce agreements and do not require a QDRO. However, in order to avoid taxes and penalties, funds should not be distributed, but rather transferred.

What to do about shared assets during a split can add more stress to an already emotional and difficult time. Luckily, there is help readily available for Arizona residents that have questions about dividing assets during a divorce. A knowledgeable family law attorney can help guide individuals through these challenging and tumultuous times.

Source:, "How to Split These 7 Assets During a Divorce", Maurie Backman, Dec. 7, 2017

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