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Don't forget about not-so-obvious assets during divorce

When a couple makes the decision to divorce, there is a lot to think about. Between settling child custody questions and figuring out the simple logistics of living arrangements, a person can feel inundated. At the same time, couples must also work on unraveling their assets to provide a post-divorce financial footing for each spouse.

Of course, there are obvious items that couples address during property division. If a couple jointly owns a checking account or house, those are things they will split in divorce. At the same time, there are some assets eligible for division that may not be as obvious, but just as important. This is why it may be critical to take a step back and think about all the jointly held assets and property that should be discussed during divorce negotiations.

For example, a couple may have a family membership to a golf course, country club, or gym, but they might not immediately consider this an asset worth splitting. As Forbes points out, many organizations require a substantial up-front investment or enrollment fee. Knowing this, it is an asset that can be considered during divorce.

Jointly held memberships are just one way to illustrate the point that certain items may have a financial value, but may not come to mind when couples are taking inventory of their assets. At the same time, there may be other items that have little or no monetary value, but have significant sentimental value. These items can also be included in a settlement.

As couples take an inventory of the assets they've acquired, it's important to keep in mind how property division laws work. Arizona is considered a community property state, which generally means that assets acquired during marriage are split equally between spouses. Of course, determining the value of assets and what was brought into a marriage can become a point of contention. An experienced attorney can help sort through these issues and help reach a fair solution.

Source: Forbes, "Divorcing Women: Don't Forget These Marital Assets," Jeff Landers, Oct. 16, 2013

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