The emotional toll of a divorce can be particularly challenging for those approaching their retirement years, often referred to as “gray divorces.” Dividing major assets, such as homes, retirement funds, or cars, are typically top of mind. However, other assets that carry significant value (both financial and emotional) often go unnoticed. These may include items such as burial plots, pets, items of sentimental value, pets, social security benefits, and much more. Ignoring these during the settlement process could lead to serious complications down the line, so do your best not to forget about these crucial assets.
Often overlooked during divorce proceedings, burial plots can carry significant emotional weight. Not just that, but they could also potentially pack a financial punch, particularly if they are especially if the plot is in a desirable location or a cemetery that is no longer accepting new interments. The plot’s financial worth could skyrocket in such scenarios, making it a substantial asset that demands attention during asset division.
These items can sometimes be undervalued or forgotten during divorce, especially if they’ve been in the family for a long time or if their real value isn’t understood. Antiques range from furniture pieces and jewelry to artwork and other unique objects. Their worth often requires professional appraisal, as their value could be considerably higher than initially perceived and should be fairly distributed.
These may not have a high monetary value but can hold significant emotional value. Examples include family heirlooms, cherished photographs, or tokens from meaningful life events. Their worth may be overlooked in the whirlwind of a divorce, yet their emotional significance warrants careful consideration during asset division.
While not considered assets in the traditional sense, pets can become a contentious issue in divorce proceedings. While pets are legally considered property in many jurisdictions, an increasing number of courts have started to consider the pet’s well-being when deciding custody, highlighting their importance beyond mere property status.
If a marriage lasted 10 years or longer, an ex-spouse may be entitled to a portion of the other ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits. This detail is frequently overlooked, possibly due to its delayed relevance. Nonetheless, it represents a substantial asset that shouldn’t be disregarded.
Collections can encompass a wide array of items, from coins, stamps, and comic books to fine wines and other collectibles. The cumulative value can be considerable, making it essential not to disregard these when dividing assets.
Digital Assets and Downloads
This includes any online accounts, digital downloads, e-books, music, movies, or cryptocurrency assets. These can be forgotten, particularly if one spouse is unaware of their existence or doesn’t appreciate their worth, but they are still assets that require division.
Memberships to clubs, gyms, professional organizations, or country clubs can carry both a financial value (in terms of dues paid and joining costs) and a lifestyle value. These memberships often represent a significant investment of time and resources, making them important assets to consider.
Winning lottery tickets or drawings, even if they are not yet cashed in, are considered marital assets. If one was purchased during the marriage, it is considered marital property and is subject to division.
A pending tax refund from a jointly filed tax return could easily be overlooked in a divorce. However, it is a joint asset and should be distributed equitably. This is another example of an asset that, while not immediately apparent, should be addressed during the division process.
Remember, the division of these forgotten assets, like all property in a divorce, will depend on whether the divorce is occurring in a community property state or an equitable distribution state. It’s essential to consult with a legal professional to understand the specifics.
Contact Steven B. Menack About Divorce Mediation
Divorce mediation can be a positive and collaborative method of conflict resolution in the dissolution of marriage, no matter what age you are. Mr. Menack is an experienced mediator that has helped over 5,000 clients over the last 25 years. Contact us today in order to find out more about our mediation services.