At Branstad & Olson Law Office, we know firsthand how important it is for clients to make sure they are prepared for every aspect of divorce. One of the most contentious areas of divorce is when spouses disagree on property division and can’t come to a fair arrangement. Below, we explain what to consider and which procedures to follow if you expect your ex to give you a hard time regarding property division.
Tip #1: Review Property Division Laws in Iowa
Iowa is an "equitable distribution” state, which means courts divide all of the spouse’s property, regardless of whether the property was acquired before or after the marriage. Exceptions to this include gifts and inheritances received before or during the marriage. A portion of the marital property can also be set aside in a fund to cover the support, maintenance, and education of any minor children. Marital fault is not a factor courts use when it comes to property division.
Tip #2: Determine Your Property
Once you review Iowa’s property division laws, you will need to determine which items in your home are your personal property. This can include family heirlooms from your side of the family or property you owned before the marriage that belongs to you.
Tip #3: Provide an Accurate Financial Declaration
Before you start negotiating which spouse gets what, you need to determine the total value for the entire marital estate. Although gathering financial documents for all of the property you own can be a tedious process, accuracy from both spouses ensures that the negotiations are conducted in good faith. Additionally, if a spouse fails to report major assets, it not only complicates the negotiation process but also doesn’t look good in the judge’s eyes.
Tip #4: Never Hide Assets
No matter how much you want to win property division negotiations, you never want to resort to hiding assets from your ex. Concealing assets can land you in more trouble than the risk is actually worth. Additionally, a skilled attorney who is familiar with asset division will see right through your scheme during the discovery process. If you’re caught hiding assets, it can have potentially severe consequences, including losing a larger share of the marital estate. It will also as severely damage your credibility throughout the rest of the divorce proceedings.
Tip #5: Use a Mediator
A mediator can serve as a neutral third party during property division negotiations and also help you avoid a lengthy court battle. A well-versed mediator can devise creative solutions that appeal to both parties and might be able to point out where compromises can be made to settle even the most contentious property division cases.
Speak to a Property Division Lawyer Today About Your Case
Our patient family law attorneys at Branstad & Olson Law Office are committed to helping clients secure a favorable solution to their legal disputes. We understand both the private nature of your circumstances and the emotional strain, which is why we are here to compassionately provide effective legal options.