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Asset division in divorce can be complicated

With gray divorce on the rise, more and more divorcing couples are dealing with 10 or more years of shared assets that must be divided during the separation. As some Connecticut residents are aware, this part of divorce can be extremely contentious, no matter how amicable the split might be. It can be very helpful for both parties to understand what assets they're entitled to before beginning the process.

An alarming number of people are unaware of what constitutes an asset in the marital sense. While most states -- including Connecticut -- ascribe to an equitable distribution approach to asset division, in which assets accrued during the marriage are considered joint to be divided fairly, not every state does. Additionally, some states consider the interest on premarital assets to be shared as well, which can further complicate the division process.

It is also important to note that retirement benefits typically count as an asset to be divided. Approximately 31 percent of gray divorce participants polled were unaware they were entitled to a portion of their spouse's retirement benefits, which could have serious ramifications for their later-in-life planning. As usual, a thorough understanding of state laws governing divorce can mean the difference between an equal share and a missed opportunity.

Divorce is not always an easy process, as some Connecticut residents can attest. However, the process can be smoothed if both individuals are aware of their rights and responsibilities before entering the process. An equal share of marital assets can help both parties move forward in their individual lives with a more steady fiscal step.

Source: Forbes, "The Big Money Mistake Divorcing Women Make", Kerry Hannon, July 3, 2014

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