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Property division negotiation: It all starts with a checklist

Are you going through a divorce? Are you concerned about losing some or all of your assets to your soon-to-be ex-spouse?

It's only natural to worry about this since you'll have to negotiate and compromise along the way. While this is all part of the divorce process, there are steps you can take to tilt the scales in your favor.

Initially, an important thing you can do is create a property division checklist. Once you do this, you'll have a clearer idea of what to discuss as the process begins to unfold.

Reminder: Don't get so caught up in the big stuff, such as the family home and cars, that you overlook the other assets that also come into play.

Here are the four categories to include in your property division checklist:

  • Personal property. Think about the things you keep in your home. These are the types of items that fit here, including but not limited to: electronics, furniture, collectibles, art, clothing, motor vehicles, boats, guns and antiques.
  • Real property. The most common types of real property include the marital home, rental properties, vacation homes and undeveloped land.
  • Financial assets. These can be among your most valuable assets and include cash, bank and retirement accounts, pensions, life insurance cash values, trusts, annuities, stocks, bonds and mutual funds.
  • Business assets. These only come into play if one or both of you own a stake in a business.

Don't leave any stone unturned, as you need to list all your assets — as well as financial liabilities — when negotiating during the divorce process. Also, be sure that the other person is not hiding any valuable assets or resources from the court.

Property division negotiation can be tough since both of you will be looking to retain as many assets as possible. When you know your legal rights and rely on a property division checklist, you can feel confident tackling what you'll need to do as your divorce moves forward.

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