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In today’s booming economy, it is more and more common for divorcing couples to struggle with the valuation and division of a small business as part of the divorce process. Remember, even if the ownership interest is in the name of only one spouse, it may be marital if it was acquired, improved upon, or financed during the marriage.
Deferred compensation refers to pension plans, 401K plans, IRAs and other retirement assets.Such plans are divisible as part of a property settlement in divorce regardless of which party is named on the plan. How they are divided depends on the value and nature of the asset. Perhaps one of the worst scenarios in a divorce is when retirement assets are transferred to a former spouse but the original owner is liable for liable for the taxes, including penalties for early withdrawal.
Marital property laws in Minnesota and Wisconsin define the marital estate (community property) as any asset acquired during the marriage whether that asset is held in the name of either party or both. This specifically includes real estate, cars, pensions, 401K plans, business interests, stocks,bonds, stock options, dogs, cats, chairs, collectibles and bank accounts etc. Property that does not have to be divided in divorce is called non-marital property. Non-marital assets are generally defined as anything acquired by a spouse before the marriage, or during the marriage by gift, devise or bequest.
Divorce can have devastating financial consequence. During a marriage, you learn to budget based on a family income and on family debts. Some of the monthly expenses remain constant like mortgages and car loan payments. After a divorce, that budget changes. Income must now be stretched to cover expenses related to two residences instead of one. This can be very difficult, and if proper planning is not provided, it is not uncommon that a divorce ultimately results in the filing of bankruptcy for each party.
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