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Marital assets people might not think about

For many New York residents, divorce often ends up being viewed as the beginning of a new chapter for both people involved. However, there are many things to consider in order to properly negotiate an equitable property division agreement. This is especially important in the case of marriages where valuable assets may have accumulated that may not immediately come to mind.

Employment benefits such as restricted stocks, retirement accounts, stock options and compensation plans from current and prior employers are valuable assets as are life insurance policies. Capital loss tax carryovers can be valuable as well as they may be capable of being used to lower future tax liabilities. Collectibles that are packed away such as stamp and coin collections, comic books and antiques are other important items. In general, if a piece of property was listed on a rider to a homeowner's policy, it is likely to be valuable enough to include in a property settlement.

The repayment of loans to others that were previously made by either spouse are also subject to division as are winnings from lottery tickets. Pets are generally treated as property and usually given to the party who was the primary caregiver. If one spouse is a business owner, it may be important to take into account the company's retained earnings and intellectual property rights.

A person contemplating a divorce may wish to speak with an attorney who has experience in family law matters. The attorney may be able to assist in conducting a review of the assets and liabilities accumulated during the marriage and may also be able to help negotiate and prepare agreements relating to issues such as property division and spousal support.

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

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