As you recite your wedding vows, you most likely feel as though your marriage will stand the test of time. No one gets married with the intention of divorcing later on down the road. However, at least half of all marriages end in divorce, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
When going through a divorce, people must negotiate the terms of the final settlement. One of the hardest topics to tackle may be property division.
Identifying all marital property
Many people consider the family home, furniture, cars and bank account contents as marital property. Yet, there are many other items that are often overlooked in a divorce settlement. These items include the following:
- Term life insurance policies, stocks, 401k plans and retirement accounts
- Lottery ticket winnings and income tax refunds
- Travel rewards points and frequent flier miles
- Expensive collections, such as classic cars, antiques, art and coins
- Memberships to exclusive golf courses and country clubs
- Gifts spouses gave to one another during the marriage
In addition, any money or property loaned to a third party during the marriage requires division once it is repaid. Intellectual property, such as patents, copyrights and trademarks are also considered marital property.
How is marital property distributed?
Kansas is an equitable division of property state, meaning that all property and assets accumulated during the marriage qualify for division according to the discretion of the judge presiding over the case. For fair and equitable division, both parties have to disclose all marital property.
If couples go through mediation, they may negotiate the terms of property division without the assistance of a judge. In this case, couples have more control over who gets what and may be able to agree on certain items. It can be difficult to part with property amassed during marriage, so mediation may be an amicable alternative to a courtroom divorce.