In any Arkansas divorce, marital property is usually distributed relatively equitably between each spouse. However, each spouse also likely has certain property or assets they want to keep, even if they technically owned those assets jointly in the past.
In other cases, one ex-spouse may want to protect their highest-value assets from the other, preventing them from taking property that should rightfully belong to them. In these cases and more, divorce lawyers can help you fight for what’s yours and retain your high-value assets throughout the divorce process.
How Does Arkansas Divide Marital Property in Divorces?
Divorce and property distribution laws in Arkansas are relatively straightforward. Arkansas divorce courts follow rules of equitable distribution: property shared by both spouses is divided as equally as possible. For example, if the spouses share a joint bank account with $10,000, each will receive $5,000 from the joint bank account.
This principle is extended to physical property or assets as well. Jointly-owned houses, for instance, are either sold and the profits distributed equally, or one spouse retains the house in exchange for giving up other jointly-owned assets equal to half of the house’s estimated value.
Equitable distribution sounds fair on paper, but in many cases, one spouse may wish to keep certain high-value assets while relinquishing others due to emotional ties to the assets or other reasons. In these circumstances, it’s a good idea to contact knowledgeable divorce law attorneys for assistance.
Are All Assets Equally Divided?
Generally, all assets are equally divided in an Arkansas divorce. This can be complicated depending on what percentage of a couple’s property is jointly owned, but most courts attempt to make property distribution as equitable as possible. This extends to high-value assets that may be worth a lot of estimated or real money.
“High-value” assets may be subject to equitable division rules as well. These assets can include:
- Stocks, bonds, and other stock market assets, including the assets in retirement portfolios or other investment portfolios
- Real estate property, including land, constructed real estate, etc.
- High-value items such as collectors’ items
- Savings and other monetary goods
However, some assets may not be equally divided under Arkansas divorce laws. For example, assets or money protected under prenuptial agreements are not distributed equally; instead, they are distributed or retained according to the terms of the prenuptial agreement.
Furthermore, assets or money that one spouse in a partnership owned prior to getting married may be retained, except in cases where that money or those assets may be needed to equalize property distribution elsewhere. For example, if a husband owned a house before meeting his wife, and the couple then divorced, the wife would not be entitled to half of the house or its value (unless other factors come into play).
How Do Divorce Lawyers Help You Protect High-Value Assets in a Divorce?
Property distribution can be technically complex and highly stressful. Divorce lawyers can help you protect your most important assets—such as retirement funds, real estate property, mementos, and property you have emotional connections to—in a few important ways.
Accurately Assess Asset Value
Divorce lawyers can help you accurately assess the value of your key assets. For example, they may be able to assess the value of property or items that you treasure from years ago. This can help with property distribution negotiations: once you know the value of your assets, you can better defend them or negotiate for them by trading other “to-be-distributed” property to your ex-spouse.
Track and Argue for Ownership of Specific Assets
Divorce lawyers can track the ownership of specific assets across time by looking at paperwork such as ownership records at the local county clerk’s office and more. For instance, if you owned your house prior to meeting your ex-spouse, but your ex-spouse claims that you purchased the house together, your attorneys can determine the truth of the matter and prove that you owned the house prior to getting married.
In this way, your lawyers can argue for ownership of specific assets that have murky or unclear ownership statuses. They can research as much as needed to determine the true ownership status of any property you wish to reclaim.
Determine Which Assets Qualify as Shared or Co-Mingled
Similarly, divorce attorneys can determine which assets should legitimately qualify as shared or co-mingled. This can include, but is not limited to, real estate property, shared property in your home, financial assets like retirement portfolios or specific stocks, etc.
Negotiate for Specific Assets
If you have certain assets you wish to keep no matter the financial cost, your divorce lawyers can help you prioritize those assets above all else. For instance, if you would rather keep a prized vehicle you spent years repairing instead of a house, your lawyers can negotiate for that vehicle on your behalf by accurately assessing its value and offering to exchange something else for the vehicle and its assessed value.
Leverage Prenuptial Agreements
Knowledgeable divorce attorneys can help you understand and leverage prenuptial agreements if they were put into place before you and your ex-spouse were married. Even the most cut-and-dried prenuptial agreements can end up being more complex or opaque than you initially thought, leaving many questions in terms of property distribution, co-ownership of certain properties or assets, and so on.
Your attorneys can make sure both sides in the divorce understand the prenuptial agreement and receive what they are owed according to the document. They can also defend you if your ex-spouse tries to take property that they are not legally entitled to.
Contact Milligan Law Offices for a Divorce Consultation
You deserve the best legal representation for your divorce. When it comes to protecting your assets, your finances, and your future, Milligan Law Offices can help. Our knowledgeable legal team can assist in both assessing and negotiating for the most important assets in your name, whether they are material or not.
Schedule an initial consultation with our team today by messaging us online or calling (479) 783-2213.