When filing for divorce, you and your spouse need to carefully break down your assets and debts into an asset inventory, often called a “balance sheet.” Depending on your state laws, you may need to ensure a fair distribution of those assets. In other cases, you may simply want to make sure that everything is covered, so that no surprises come up later.
It is essential to carefully lay out all of your assets during the discovery period, when you and your spouse bring together your financial information and disclose it to one another, before the asset distribution is finalized. However, there are some overlooked assets that often fail to make the list when you’re breaking down that critical distribution of assets during your divorce. A lawyer can help you take a closer look at which assets you may need to consider. Many common overlooked assets include:
1. Frequent Flyer Miles and Credit Card Rewards
Often, credit card rewards are one of the top overlooked assets when you’re considering the money and other items you have on hand during a divorce. However, in many cases, those credit card rewards may have more value than you think. Airline tickets can cost hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars-and cashing in your frequent flyer miles can cut down immensely on those expenses. Credit card rewards may also be good for cash back, discount tickets to games and events, and more. If you have a significant credit card rewards balance, talk to your lawyer about whether you should include it in your balance sheet.
There are a wide variety of collectables that may have more serious value than you or your spouse considers as you prepare for divorce. All too often, those collectables end up being overlooked assets in the divorce process. If you have a collection, you may need to have an expert come in and evaluate its worth. This may include collectable items like:
- Trading cards (including sports cards & game cards)
- Movie & TV collectables
When in doubt, include collectables on your balance sheet and have their value evaluated by a professional, so that you can add them in the fair distribution of your marital assets. Talk to a lawyer about which collectibles may be considered high-value items.
Some types of jewelry can be extremely expensive,and the value of your jewelry may rise higher than anticipated. While family heirlooms (including wedding or engagement rings) may fall into a different category, you should have your jewelry collection valued and included on the balance sheet. It is also important to make sure you add jewelry belonging to both parties.
4. Digital Currency
Bitcoin, NFTs, and other digital assets often become overlooked assets when you’re dividing assets for your divorce as well. Make sure you have a solid idea of the actual value for those items, so that you can include them on your balance sheet.
5. Stock Options
Corporate jobs often provide stock options for their employees. Those stock options often represent a significant asset and investment for you. In many cases, stock options may prove very difficult to divide in the divorce process, particularly due to their changing financial value over time. However, stocks are a necessary item to include in your asset distribution, because they still fall into that category. Talk to your lawyer about what your stock options are, and how they could count as assets in your divorce.
6. Season Tickets
Your family’s season tickets to sporting events and other forms of entertainment can often be incredibly valuable in your divorce-as well as equally difficult to replace. Not only should you consider the tickets for the current year, you should also consider whether you have a reserved box or ticketing system that allows you to renew your reservations from year to year, and how that value might compare to your other assets that have already been included. Speak with your lawyer to see about including any family tickets to your balance sheet.
7. Prepaid Rent and Security Deposits
Do you have a security deposit on a current property? Who will get that security deposit back when you move out? As you consider the value of various assets, you may also need to consider whether you have paid any of your rent ahead of time. For example, do you have rent on a storage unit that has already been paid up for the year, or rent that you prepaid on your primary residence due to a windfall? Either way, it is vital to include these in your asset distribution, so that you know nothing has been overlooked before your divorce is finalized.
In Minnesota, bonuses can also be considered a marital asset. Have you had any work bonuses come through recently that could impact your overall income for the year? Do you have pending bonuses that have not come through yet, but may in the near future? Bonuses can be considered part of your marital party as you divide your assets.
9. Capital Loss Carryover
Dealing with capital loss carryover, in which you use a capital loss to help reduce your tax burden in following years, can be extremely complicated during the divorce process. Working with a lawyer can offer your best chance of effectively managing those more complicated assets.
Speak with an Experienced Divorce Attorney
As you put together your assets for the discovery process and create your balance sheet, work with an experienced divorce attorney to help you receive the best possible outcome out of your divorce for yourself. Not only can a divorce attorney help you identify any assets that you might not have considered to include before on your own, they can also provide you with more information about effectively dividing your assets in a fair, equitable manner.
If you’re in the process of getting divorced, or are considering divorce and need more advice about asset division, contact us today.