During a divorce, the division of marital assets is one of the biggest issues that need to be addressed. Spouses who are going through this often focus on the larger assets, such as the marital home, vehicles, bank account balances, etc. But with so much attention paid to the things that are at the top of your mind, some important property and assets could get overlooked.
In Alabama, divorcing spouses are entitled to a fair and equitable distribution of the marital estate. This means that all marital property (which generally means property and assets that were acquired and accumulated during the marriage with the exception of gifts and inheritances) should be divided equitably. This does not necessarily mean exactly 50/50, but it should be a fair division.
To ensure that this occurs, it is important to give careful consideration to all of your property and assets, even those that you do not think about all the time. Here are some of the more commonly overlooked assets during an Alabama divorce:
Although many people think of retirement accounts as individual assets, the portion of a retirement account that was accumulated during the marriage is part of the marital estate. This could be the entire account if it was opened after the couple was married. Take an inventory of all retirement accounts and speak with your attorney about how they should be divided. For certain types of accounts, a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) will be needed in order to ensure that the account is divided properly.
Children College Savings Accounts
If you have children, you may have opened 529 college savings accounts to put away money for their higher education. Although the money in these accounts is meant for your kids, it is important to decide which parent will manage the accounts, how future contributions should be made, and what should be done with any funds that the child does not end up using for college.
Because the account information is stored online, cryptocurrency and other types of digital assets are often overlooked during a divorce. Make sure to get an inventory of these assets along with a general idea of their monetary value. Along the same lines, do not overlook other digital properties that may produce income, such as a high-traffic blog or an online store.
Many employees who work in the corporate world receive stock options from their employer. This type of asset often carries significant future value, but its present value can be difficult to determine. If you or your spouse has stock options, speak with your attorney about how they will be divided during the divorce.
A bonus that an employee receives can be considered a marital asset. If one of the spouses has pending bonuses that they expect to receive in the near future, this could be part of the division of property.
Some couples own collectibles that hold significant value, perhaps more than they realize. Some examples include antiques, trading cards, stamp collections, and rare coins. Include any collectibles on your inventory of assets, and if there is any question about their value, bring them to a professional appraiser.
Prepaid Rents and Security Deposits
If you are renting, you may have paid advance rent and/or put down a security deposit on your rental. If this is the case, you will need to decide who will receive these funds when you vacate the property. The same holds true for any advance rent that you may have paid on a storage unit.
Frequent Flyer Miles and Credit Card Rewards
Credit card rewards such as frequent flyer miles and cashback bonuses are among the most overlooked assets during a divorce. Airline tickets often cost hundreds of dollars and in some cases, thousands. Using frequent flyer miles can reduce the cost of a ticket or even pay for the entire fare. If you have a significant amount of frequent flyer miles and other credit card rewards, speak with your attorney about whether this should be included in the division of marital property.
Contact Our Reputable Southern Alabama Family Law Attorneys
As you take inventory of the assets and property that may be included in your divorce, it is important to work with a firm that thoroughly understands how to navigate the complexities of the marital dissolution process. For strong legal guidance with divorce and other family legal matters in southern Alabama, contact Stone Crosby, P.C. for assistance. Call our Daphne, AL office today at (251) 626-6696 or message us online to get started. We look forward to serving you!