When couples undergo divorce, they usually seek assets such as their home, retirement accounts and vehicles. But spouses should consider seeking other valuable assets.
Spouses also place money in a 529 plan to finance their children’s college education. Parents are legally the owners of these accounts, but the funds are set aside for their children’s benefit.
A parent who keeps the status as the account owner may withdraw funds anytime. Courts may not make demands for support of children over 18 so it is important to protect these funds and set them aside during divorce.
Capital loss carryforward
Capital losses are an overlooked asset. But these may have tax benefits because these losses may be carried forward into future years, as needed, until they are fully deducted.
In a divorce, capital loss carryovers are usually allocated on separate gain and loss calculations for each spouse. The spouse who incurred the capital loss may use the carryover for tax purposes. The carryover should be equally divided if both spouses suffered losses.
Stock options may be valuable in the future even if they are not immediately available or vested. If you are unaware of whether your spouse has these options, you should seek immediate discovery of their employment benefits.
The valuation and division of stock options may be difficult because most employee stock option plans do not allow the assignment or transfer of rights in these options. Most business will allow the establishment of a constructive trust if there is a divorce decree granting the non-employee spouse a share of the options. The spouse is notified when shares vest and may be sold.
Country club memberships
Expensive country club memberships may sometimes be sold or returned to the club for money. These are divisible in a divorce settlement.
Points and credits
Credit cards often provide airline miles, hotel points and other benefits. At times, their value may exceed any debt owed on the account. If these are unaddressed in the divorce settlement, the spouse who assumes any credit card debt or who is named on the account will usually keep these rewards.
Safety deposit and lockboxes
Couples may have set up a safety deposit box in a bank years ago or have a lockbox with valuable stashed in their home. Obtain the keys to boxes, identify whose name the safety deposit box is registered and inventory their assets and valuables.
An attorney can help you locate these assets. They may also assist you with seeking a fair and reasonable property division.