When parties decide to divorce, one of the main issues is property division. The question is often “ What do I get?” But before the court gets to that question, it must determine what constitutes “property”.
“Property” can be many things. Of course, your personal “ stuff” is considered property, including clothes, furniture, the dog, the deck furniture…. Etc. But it is also you art work, the collectibles you got from New Mexico, the classic car, the limited edition anything that has value. It is also real property, which is no surprise, but if you used marital funds to purchase property for someone else, that property could also come into play. Do you have a medical invention that is now being manufactured ? What about a book that has been or is about to be published? Do you have a valuable patent? What about a screenplay or software that is licensed? Have you recently developed an app for Apple? Do you own a business that holds certain licenses or patents? Have you looked at some of the new financial instruments that have been created in recent years? Does anyone have an interest in an overseas entity? Does anyone own financial instruments or brokerage accounts overseas? What constitutes property has become a far more complex issue than it was even 15 years ago.
If you are about to divorce or considering a divorce, think about more than just your marital home. It is possible that that is all there is…. But it is also possible that there are other things that you just have not considered that may be important information to pass to your attorney so that the proper investigation can be completed at the beginning of the divorce process. Identifying some of the not so obvious property early in the process can ensure that all of the property of the parties is equitably divided in the final divorce.