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In a Divorce, Some Assets Are More Complicated to Divide than Others

With emotions running high, deciding who gets to keep what can be one of the most stressful parts of the divorce process. When spouses have particular attachments to certain items or the assets are of high value, coming to agreements regarding the separation can be challenging.

For couples that jointly own expensive or even "priceless" items, the stakes can be high. For example, some couples own famous works of art, expensive homes or even sports teams. These assets can be difficult to divide equally. In such cases, it can take years for the divorce to be finalized.

There are many factors to consider when dividing these types of assets. There are several rules of thumb divorcing spouses should follow in such situations.

Firstly, when a couple acquires priceless assets during the marriage, it might be wise to sign a postnuptial agreement. Although the thought of signing such an agreement may be off-putting when the marriage is strong, establishing how these assets will be divided in the case of a divorce can prevent lengthy battles if the couple later decides to divorce.

When dividing assets during a divorce, it might be tempting to sell everything and divide the money. However, such a tactic, in which the couple agrees to split the profits, is not always the best choice. For some assets, tax implications and other costs associated with selling the items make this idea much less profitable.

It is also important to recognize that even if two assets are valued the same, they may not actually be worth the same amount. A house, for example, may be worth less than its valuation because of taxes and maintenance costs.

Above all, it is imperative for divorcees to consider the financial implications when they are dividing their assets. It may be easy to slip into thinking about what items are emotionally important, but thinking financially will serve each spouse better in the end.

Source: Forbes, "How To Handle Difficult To Divide Assets," Jeff Landers, September 18, 2012.

For more information, please visit our Utah divorce asset division page.

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