The decision to divorce is never an easy one. It still might be the best choice for you and your family moving forward. Once the decision is made, it unfortunately does not immediately become clear or easy to get to the point of finalization. With mandatory waiting periods, families have time to discuss the divorce. Before you ever go in front of a judge, you can decide the tone and shape of your divorce. Open communication with your partner about property division will keep the decisions in your hands, not dictated by a judge.
The easiest place to begin may be non-marital property, acquired before the marriage, after the separation or excluded in a pre-nup. Non-marital property should be a simple property division between spouses. Bank accounts, retirement accounts, stock option, life insurance and real estate are just some examples of marital property. In Community Property states, marital property is divided 50/50. In Equitable Distribution states, a more nuanced complex property division takes place.
Factors such as the length of marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, income by both spouses, earning potential of spouses and more are all taken into consideration to find a fair and equitable division. Frequently, this division results in a 50/50 split anyway, but not always. Debt acquired during the marriage must also be divided between spouses.
Sentimental value cannot be calculated. The same items are likely to have significant meaning to both parties in a marriage. It can be difficult to stay amicable and avoid fighting. Keep in mind that by working through mediation, you can stay in control of how assets are divided. Property obtained during the marriage will be divided equitably.
Spouses that can work together to divide property have better control over their divorce and experience less uncertainty until finalization. When fighting begins, a divorce then moves into the courts which may prolong the process. Both spouses must obey any decision by a judge regarding the division of property. Successful mediation and spousal cooperation can minimize the considerable stress of a divorce.