IMPLEMENTING DIVISION OF ASSETS INCIDENT TO DIVORCE
by Tina Fewell
Inevitably upon divorce, there exist assets that must be divided between parties. This is true whether the matter is settled amicably, by written agreement between the parties, or through adjudication by a court if the matter is litigated.
Following an agreement between the parties, or a ruling by a court as to division of assets, our attorneys – often with assistance from a paralegal – will review a client’s settlement agreement or Final Order of Divorce with a view to preparing a checklist of items for implementation. Frequently such a checklist is memorialized in the form of a comprehensive letter from the attorney to the client reviewing the assets that are to be divided and enumerating other items requiring action by the client.
Examples of assets divided incident to divorce include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Real Estate
- Vehicles (change of title)
- Frequent flyer miles or travel points
- Funds on deposit in bank or money market accounts and/or closing of any such accounts in joint names
- Funds on deposit in brokerage and investment accounts (often divided between the parties in kind so that each emerges with identical assets), and/or closing of any such accounts in joint names
- Stock shares, bonds, and other securities
- Employer-related stock options and restricted stock
- Transfer of corporate or LLC ownership in cases where one or both parties own an interest in one or more business entities
- Retirement funds, including Military, Civil Service, and Foreign Service plans, as well as private plans, including but not limited to private pensions and defined contribution plans
- Individual Retirement Accounts
In providing a comprehensive overview to clients of items for implementation following amicable settlement, consideration is given as to the timing of division. For instance, the division of retirement assets must usually wait until after entry of a Final Order of Divorce. Unless stated otherwise in the parties’ written agreement certain other action items such as division of bank and brokerage accounts, need not wait until following entry of a Final Order of Divorce. Conversely, when a case is litigated and the division of assets is dictated by the court, all implementation issues should wait until following entry of the Final Order by the judge who presided over the trial.
Generally speaking, cases do not conclude with entry of a Final Order of Divorce. To the extent desired by a client, our attorneys are prepared to oversee and help facilitate the various phases of implementation of clients’ settlement agreements or court adjudications by performing any number of tasks such as preparing necessary court orders, forms and letters of instruction for division of various types of retirement assets, contacting financial institutions to procure forms and preparing necessary documents for division of stocks and accounts within a financial portfolio, preparing deeds for transfer of real property between spouses and former spouses, etc. Being involved in continuing matters beyond entry of a Final Order of Divorce, to the extent requested, is a testament to this firm’s philosophy of being with our clients every step of the way.