When considering the equitable division of assets, it’s easy to see how you should split up things like cash assets, investments or bank accounts. The split may not be perfectly even, but you can divide those assets in whatever way the court sees as fair. Perhaps you get 60% of your investments and your ex gets 40%. You just transfer the proper totals into new accounts.
But what about things that you can’t split, like a home, a car, or a piece of artwork? If you have an art collection, you can divide it, but what if you have just one sentimental — and valuable — painting that has always hung in your living room? How are you supposed to divide something like that?
One of the most common tactics is to come to an agreement that gives specific assets to each person. Someone has to lose out, but they gain something else. Maybe you really want that painting, but your ex really wants a classic car that the two of you restored together. You can find an agreement that gives certain assets to each of you. Another example is one person taking a retirement account and the other taking the family home.
The second tactic is just to sell the assets that are in dispute. You can’t split them, but you can split the value. The issue here, of course, is that you both lose that asset. Maybe you both thought of the house as your dream home. Selling it may mean you both get part of the proceeds, but neither of you actually gets the house.
Asset division can get very complicated, and it’s crucial to really think through all of your options. An experienced advocate can often provide guidance that will make this kind of process easier.