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I'm getting divorced. What exactly are my "assets"?

Despite your best effort, you and your spouse have decided that your marriage is not working. Choosing to divorce is not an easy decision. What will happen to the kids? What happens to you financially? What exactly is "property division" and what gets divided?

When a couple divorces, each gets a share of the marital estate--all the things you have accumulated during your marriage: from saddles to horses, tractors to trailers, houses to bank accounts. Right down to the furniture, the courts are interested in making sure that you receive your rightful share. Kentucky uses the legal standard of "equitable division" which means that the assets will be divided fairly but not necessarily equally.

How will I know what I will get?

Because it is divided fairly but not evenly, you may get more of one asset and less of another. But you may be asking, "What exactly is a marital asset, anyway"? At its very core, an asset is anything that has monetary worth. While there are some things that may be unique to your marriage (perhaps you have a very valuable antique), there are some basic, common assets that most couples have. The more you know about your assets and their worth, the easier it is for your attorney to negotiate property division.

Common assets

Below is a list of the most basic assets that nearly every couple has:

•· Real estate: This may include a family home, vacation home, rental property, lots, etc.

•· Real property: Anything from jam jars to livestock. Real property includes household goods, farm equipment, vehicles, bikes and motorcycles, tools, clothing, etc.

•· Bank accounts: Whether you have separate or joint accounts, anything that was acquired during the marriage is part of the marital estate. Exceptions include accounts you had before marriage that have not had deposits from marital money.

•· Retirement accounts: These include 401k accounts, IRA's (both traditional and Roth), pensions, etc.

Retirement accounts are a very important asset. The good news is that even if you do not have one yourself, you are entitled to a portion of any that your spouse has accumulated during your marriage.

Leaving your marriage with adequate assets is essential--it will determine your financial well-being for years to come. Make sure your attorney knows every asset you have so that property division can be fair, and in the words of Kentucky law, equitable.

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