If a couple decides to end their marriage, they will need to split up assets and debts that they accumulated during the marriage. The formula generally used to divide assets is to take a couple's property and subtract the debts and allocate whatever remains. Not all property is considered marital property; items that are owned before a marriage are generally exempt from division.
The property division process will require that people go through their assets and debts and make a complete list of both. For assets, people will need to obtain things like bank statements, titles on vehicles and deeds on houses, retirement account information, life insurance policies and pay stubs that list income and withholdings. Gathering information about what a couple owes will include getting credit card statements and information about personal, home and vehicle loans.
There are certain assets that may need to have their valued determined. Examples of this are real estate, artwork and businesses. It is also important to note that people should consider the long-term costs of any assets they are seeking. If someone ends up with the marital home, they may regret it due to the cost of keeping up with maintenance and other expenses.
It is important to remember that part of asset division during a divorce is determining which property is considered to be a marital asset. Although people are generally allowed to keep the property they entered the marriage with, how someone used that property may make its designation unclear. A lawyer may be able to assist an individual going through a divorce by explaining how property division works and negotiating on their behalf.