Divorce Asset Analysis: Buried Treasures
You never realize how much junk you’ve acquired until you have to move. You find a dozen matchbooks with one match left each, an 8th-grade history paper you got an A+ on, that weed whacker you never returned to the neighbor who moved away two years ago, and the $2.37 in change that fell out of the couch. You had no idea you had so much stuff.
Divorce is kind of like that.
Couples are often stunned by how many assets they have, and yet when preparing fair divorce settlements it is essential that attorneys know about every single item of value. It’s easy to forget about that rainy day account because you haven’t touched it in years, or your grandmother’s ring that has great sentimental value but also a certain amount of tangible value, or the 5 shares of that fruit-named computer manufacturer your parents bought when you were born in the late 70s–I wonder if the company ever got successful.
Couples ignore the real value of these assets because, unless you are selling something, you don’t really care about its dollar value. However once you are embroiled in a New York state uncontested divorce these assets suddenly matter. Sure the wife might not want the husband’s collection of classic comics, but if they have value then he has to reimburse her for her share, ideally with some asset he has no sentimental attachment to.
It’s not only the expensive items that matter. A trinket here and a souvenir there and suddenly the couple has several thousand dollars worth of assets they wouldn’t have considered counting otherwise. No, the couple doesn’t have to document every pair of sneakers and cereal box prize, but they do need to make a realistic estimate of the net worth of all of their assets, especially easily-valued assets such as investments, loan receivables and pensions.
The same need for thoroughness applies to liabilities, but people are often more aware of what they owe than what they own, plus most debts show up on a credit history so these are easier to track.
Family law attorneys should prepare asset checklists to be completed by the client. Having the client do much of the work saves time and money in the long run, and people are better able to find their own assets than a stranger would be. Once the checklist is returned, the attorney can easily enter the information into divorce settlement software for fair property settlement calculation.
Easy Soft’s law practice management software may not be able to automatically inventory a client’s household for you, but it does takes a lot of the other drudgery out of family law practice. Less work for you means more clients and greater profits, so upgrade to Easy Soft family law software today.