If you are anticipating a divorce in West Virginia, understanding how property division works helps you avoid surprises and confusion. All marital property, including valuable assets, are subject to equitable distribution. Learn some tips regarding asset distribution and getting through your divorce as smoothly as possible.
Marital vs. separate assets
In a West Virgin4ia divorce, only the property that belongs to your marriage is divided. Marital property is anything that was earned or acquired during the marriage. Two important exclusions to this general rule are:
- Gift to one spouse
- Inheritance to one spouse
You do not have to be concerned about gifts or inherited assets being divided. What you can expect to be divided is the family home, jewelry, income, debt, benefits and dividends.
Expected financial issues
Every divorce and property division comes with emotional distress and financial concerns. High-net-worth divorces often amplify these issues and lead to contentious proceedings. For example, if you have a family business and your spouse is involved, you will need to have your interests valuated. This involves a full valuation of the business, including an asset examination and assessment of contributions made by you and your spouse. Other assets that may cause confusion and contention include joint-retirement assets, non-family partnerships, real estate holdings and trusts.
The biggest mistakes
High-asset divorces cause some spouses to hide assets from the other spouse. Common tactics taken to hide assets include:
- Overstating debts
- Understating or undervaluing property
- Reporting higher expenses
- Reporter lower income
- Transferring assets to a third party
Spouses may fail to investigate for potentially hidden assets. You should also remember to consider tax consequences of your divorce. Divorce has consequences on your tax liability through spousal support and division of accounts.
Determining spousal support
Speaking of spousal support having tax consequences, it is important to remember that it is determined separately from property division. In other words, awarding spousal support does not affect how much property either spouse receives. However, it may impact separate property because it is determined by income. If the responsible spouse does not have enough to award a fair payment, then the separate property may be utilized to satisfy the remaining amount.
If you need assistance with dividing your financial assets, consult a family law attorney experienced in dealing with high-net-worth individuals. Seeking legal counsel is important to ensure each spouse gets a fair distribution. Ensure all business holdings are valuated and all property is considered for the best final outcome.