When you and your spouse are trying to divide up the marital assets and debts, the first thing you should probably do is make an inventory of them all. That way, not only is there full transparency between you, but it’s easier to get a clear picture of your financial situation.
It’s very easy, however, to leave a few things off your inventory by accident – either because you don’t realize the value those items have or you’re simply not thinking about them. Here are some assets that are commonly overlooked during this process:
Stock options and bonuses
Your spouse’s stock options through their employer may not seem like they have a lot of value today, especially if they aren’t yet vested, but that could change in the near future. You may be able to negotiate an agreement that splits the shares (or their value) once they do vest. Similarly, bonuses that haven’t yet been paid could still affect the property settlement with your spouse, especially if the bonuses are significant. Make sure you make inquiries about bonuses in case your spouse “forgot” to mention what’s coming.
College funds for the kids
Whether it’s a 529 plan or a savings account, you don’t want to leave the disposition of those funds entirely to your spouse. If they are the designated account owner, they have full control of what happens to that money. Make sure that your divorce addresses exactly what happens to the marital funds that are set aside for your children’s future.
Credit card rewards
If you regularly use “reward” cards that give you points that are redeemable for cash or other goods or airline miles, you may actually have built up significant value over time – well into the thousands. When you’re looking at your tally sheets with your marital debts and assets, don’t forget to include the value of those points of miles.
Ultimately, the more high-assets you have, the more difficult it can be to divide things up during divorce. That’s one reason why it’s smart to seek legal guidance proactively. An experienced hand can help you make certain that you don’t leave money on the table that’s rightfully yours to keep.