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Properly dividing all assets a complex task

When a person in Maryland is thinking about getting a divorce, one of the key things that needs to be carefully sorted out is how to divide up all the existing marital assets and property. Some of the most common everyday assets that many married couples have are a marital home, stock investments and other investment vehicles in a brokerage account, pensions and individual retirement accounts, deferred compensation agreements and life insurance policies.

It is not ordinarily a simple matter of selling everything off, reducing it to a big pile of cash and then dividing it. It may not be economically prudent to sell some assets right now. For example, if the market for the sale of the residence is not right at the moment or if one of the spouses will need the home as a place to live, then it may be wise to hold off on the sale. Sometimes, ownership of an asset such as a home may also be accompanied by all kinds of expenses, including mortgage payments, insurance, maintenance costs and real estate taxes. These are expenses that whoever takes the home will need to consider.

Many married couples today may also own things such as expensive antiques or home furnishings, paintings and other original art work or collectibles ranging from classic cars to rare coins or stamps. There could be a full or partial interest in a business venture, which may not really be a readily liquid asset. Expensive gifts or inheritances acquired by the couple or one of the spouses may also have to be taken into account.

Determining the true value of many of these things may require professional assistance and appraisal. In addition, one spouse or both may want a particular asset for sentimental or emotional reasons unconnected with their economic value.

Experienced divorce attorneys are accustomed to dealing with the myriad issues, legal, economic and practical, that often arise in the course of trying to hammer out a property settlement agreement that is essentially fair and acceptable to both spouses. The best thing to do is to rely heavily on your divorce attorney to guide you through the process based on their knowledge and past dealings similar circumstances.

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

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