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Division of assets in divorce calls for full inventory

Connecticut is home to many wealthy couples who have often accumulated expensive real estate and artwork during their marriage. These spouses as well as others who are going through a divorce are advised to consider other less-obvious assets as part of the marital property division process that can be as important as the issues of spousal support and child custody.

The valuation and division of even common assets such as bank accounts or the marital home can be complicated, and other items may be even more so. For example, employment benefits such as stock options, retirement accounts, restricted stock and deferred compensation plans are subject to division and must be appraised. Cemetery plots, country and health club memberships, life insurance policies and travel reward points are all potentially valuable assets. A gift made by one spouse to the other during the marriage is considered a marital asset, while such a gift made prior to the marriage is deemed the separate property of the recipient.

Collectibles such as comic books, rare coins, stamps, books, sports memorabilia and other similar items may have been forgotten once they were put into storage, but again they can be very valuable. A good rule of thumb is that if a piece of property is specifically listed in a homeowners' insurance policy, then it is likely worth enough to include in a divorce settlement as well.

A person contemplating the termination of a marriage may wish to speak with an attorney who has experience in divorce law and who may be able to assist in compiling an inventory and valuation of marital property. The attorney may also be able to help negotiate and prepare an agreement with respect to the equitable division of that property.

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

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