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Marital property need not be purchased to have value

Property division is often a contentious part of divorce. Continuing vehicle ownership is a necessity for most individuals. Meanwhile, decisions about real property, artwork and jewelry can conflict with emotional ties, stress about future finances or a potential vindictive desire to repay a spouse for their alleged ill deeds.

However, tangible items aren’t the only assets that might receive attention among divorcing couples. An equitable distribution of marital assets may require multiple considerations, including contributions to the marriage.

Fair, not equal

Equitable property division does not recognize individuals as equals. Rather, education, earning capability, health, age and spending habits may affect a settlement.

This process considers factors such as:

  • How long a marriage lasted
  • The financial contributions of each spouse
  • Ongoing needs

Regardless of how property is distributed, couples should recognize that value can extend beyond the price paid for an item. In some cases, the property at stake may not seem like a financial matter.

How can you put a price on that?

Intangible assets such as intellectual property rights, reputation and brand recognition often factor into business valuation. Similarly, your marriage may hold numerous intangible assets that are priceless to one, or both, of you.

Before agreeing to settlement terms, think about how your choices as a couple contributed to your current situation. For example, you might consider whether you:

  • Supported your partner while they finished their degree
  • Cared for the children so your spouse could build a business
  • Designed the renovations that increased your home’s listing price

Protecting your interests will likely include serious deliberation. Despite something’s cost, its irreplaceable value might be what makes fighting for it worthwhile.