Dividing Property In Divorce, Including Assets And Debts

It has been said that divorce is a three-step process: first, determining what assets and debts exist; second, determining the value of the assets and debts; third, determining what a fair allocation of the marital assets and debts should be. Nebraska courts require an "equitable" division of the marital estate. "Equitable" does not necessarily mean equal; in fact, some courts have ordered divisions of the marital estate closer to 60/40 or even 70/30. A good way to begin the analysis, however, is to assume that the assets and debts will be divided equally — as that is what usually happens.

It matters how an asset or debt is titled as well as when that asset or debt was acquired and for what purpose. If the asset or debt was acquired during the marriage and for the benefit of the marriage, it is generally deemed a part of the marital estate and, as such, is divisible by the court.

Are There Exceptions?

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. Assets acquired by gift or inheritance, assets that can be traced back to premarital sources, and assets that were owned before the marriage and never commingled with other assets may be judged outside of the marital estate and not divisible by the court. It is the burden of the party asking to exclude those assets or debts to trace them back to their original, nonmarital source.

It is critical that you disclose, in detail, all of the assets and debts with your attorney and completely understand your financials. It is recommended that you obtain your personal credit report prior to consulting your attorney to ensure that no items have been omitted.

Financial affidavits are also required by the court and you will be asked to complete such a document at the time that you retain counsel. Be sure to maintain records of recent payments on credit card debts and other household expenses. The court will require a complete financial disclosure.

Book Your First Meeting At Higgins Law

Please contact us by calling 402-933-7600 or by completing a short form to get in touch with attorney Matt Higgins. Our firm is located in Omaha, and we handle cases throughout the surrounding Nebraska areas.