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Things to consider when dividing large assets

It's often easiest to divide large assets between you and your spouse during a divorce.

For instance, on the day that your spouse asks for a divorce, maybe you have an apartment in New York, a vacation home on the coast and another vacation property in Italy. You also have a large investment portfolio that you planned to use to eventually buy another home. Since you own your own company, you're not all that worried about retirement.

For people with just one large asset -- the family home -- it may be best to sell it and split the money. In your case, though, it may be faster and easier to look at assets with roughly the same value and split them up.

For instance: You get the two properties in New York, on the coast and in the city. Your ex gets the property in Italy and the investments to buy whatever other property they want. It's fast, easy and simple. However, there are a few things you want to keep in mind:

1. That's not flawless division

Odds are you can't divide those four assets in a way that gives you both a perfectly equal share. There are just too many variables, like the housing market in Italy at the time of your divorce. If you're interested in a flawless plan, this may not be the one for you. Those rough prices get things close, but you may still feel like your spouse got more than you.

Of course, there are other options to even things out, such as dividing bank accounts accordingly. But you have to take that step.

2. A valuation may become necessary for each asset.

If the two of you can't agree on the value of the assets, you may need to bring in a professional. That apartment in the city is probably not worth the same amount that you paid on the day that you bought it. If you think the value went down and your spouse thinks it went up, you need an appraiser to come in and settle the issue. Couples often argue over the values of various assets.

3. You may have different connections to different assets.

Even after you find out the real financial value, that doesn't mean that's what it's worth to you. Maybe you always wanted a home in Italy. The cleanest division gives that property to your ex. But you have that emotional connection that means you think more of it than the financial value. Does that play into your decision at all?

Working it out

As you can see, you and your ex have a lot to think about, even with fast and "easy" types of property division. Make sure you understand all of your legal rightsas you work it all out.

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