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What is a Marital Asset?

Westfield Mediation, LLC
©Copyright 2014

A lot of people feel stuck when it comes to dividing up the assets and monies during divorce. One person may want no part of a risky stock portfolio and more than 50% from the sale of the marital home or vice-versa. Another person may be okay sharing their investments, but not their pension. These issues can be negotiated between husband and wife in mediation. Divorce mediation allows you to divide up your marital assets according to your needs post-divorce. But what is a marital asset? There are a few limited exceptions, but generally a marital asset is everything you and your spouse accumulate during the marriage, regardless of who did the accumulating. Items in one person's name, like a 401K, IRA, car, bonus money, stock purchase plan are marital assets, as are jointly owned investments such as a house or stock portfolio.

Mediation requires that each party is forthcoming about all of their marital assets. Mediation works because people are honest about their finances and are able to put it all on the table to be divvied up. If one spouse suspects the other spouse of hiding assets, he or she can hire a forensic accountant and attorney to find the missing money. This can be time consuming, expensive and emotionally draining. It also harms the post-divorce relationship because the trust building relationship that can be fostered during mediation is dissolved during litigation. During litigation the missing monies will be found by the forensic accountant or the attorney through depositions, interrogatories and notices to produce documentation. The hiding spouse is going to get caught anyway, so he or she might as well be honest from the start. The pot of monies to divide up will be larger if the couple does not have to spend all that money on the lawyers and accountants to get to the same place, exposed.

During divorce mediation you can amicably decide how to best meet your financial needs for your post-divorce future. We often find that one person is more informed about the couple's finances than the other. Our job as a mediator is to help both parties understand their current financial picture, figure out their financial future, and help each party develop a feasible individual financial plan for that future

For questions about divorce mediation, and preparing for your post-divorce life, please contact Randi M. Albert, JD or Michelle Weinberg, LMFT at Westfield Mediation, LLC, by phone 908-913-0373, or email us at or View our website

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