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Dividing marital assets in divorce a complex process

New Mexico couples going through divorce mediation might find it is hard to divide the family assets they acquired and shared during marriage. Simply dividing assets according to their current dollar value might not be the best option in terms of your present or future financial security. Deciding that involves understanding the liquidity of the asset, its cost basis and the tax consequences of selling it.

Marital assets include such things as houses, property, brokerage accounts, deferred compensation, retirement and pension plans, stock options and even spouses' closely-held business, professional practice and licenses. However, some assets are considered separate and are not divided during divorce, unless they were commingled with marital assets. These include payment for pain and suffering from a personal injury judgment; a gift to one spouse from a third party; and property owned or an inheritance received before marriage. Everything else acquired during marriage is considered marital property.

Division of property depends on where you live if you leave it up to a judge to decide. New Mexico is one of nine community property states that require dividing things 50/50. Couples must also settle on dividing their debts during the divorce. Experts say it is better for spouses dissolving a marriage to use divorce mediation instead of the courts to amicably work out such details. In fact, about 95 percent of couples settle their divorces out of court.

The division of assets and debts is often complicated. In addition, property division can cause emotional stress and financial challenges. However, there are other issues to work out even in an uncontested divorce. A divorce mediation lawyer may be able to help ensure that an individual does not suffer in divorce by losing their fair share of the marital assets they worked to acquire.

Source: Huffington Post, "Understanding How Assets Get Divided In Divorce", Jeff Landers, June 14, 2013