Emotional Assets: Assessing and Dividing
The Worth of Assets
In Massachusetts, divorcing couples must divide their assets equitably (i.e. fairly). Seems pretty simple, right? If all your assets were cash, equitable distribution would be fairly straightforward. In reality, dividing assets can be more about dividing emotional assets than actual cash values. Some assets hold more than just market value; they hold emotions, memories, and attachment.
Emotional Assets Division
Emotional assets can be anything: the family home, the time-share where you spent your vacations, or the art pieces you picked out together. Legally, assets must be divided based on their market value. This poses some problems. Even if both spouses walk away each with a fair share of the assets, that doesn’t mean they both walk away with what they valued most. Diving your assets with both their monetary and emotional value in mind can be difficult, but there are things you can do to ease this process.
First, you should sit down with your spouse and work through this together. Taking this kind of matter to court is risky. You may end up with a technically fair share of the assets, but there is no guarantee you will get the assets you most value. Working with your spouse directly on this is the only way you can stay in control of what happens to your most valuable assets.
If you foresee conflict in doing this, consider working with an experienced Massachusetts divorce mediator. A mediator can help you and your spouse negotiate an agreement on how to divide your assets without lawyers or a judge. Next, identify what emotional assets you want to keep and those you don’t want in your life anymore. For example, you may have a strong emotional attachment to the family home but may not want the set of collectables your spouse has built over the years. Chances are good you and your spouse will both want some of the same things. That won’t be a deal breaker as long as you can practice the give and take of negotiation.
Remember, you can get creative in your asset division if you mediate your divorce. You and your spouse can split certain assets you both have emotional attachments to, such as collections or small valuables. You can also compromise by continuing to share certain assets, such as a time-share or vacation property. Some couples even manage to work out an arrangement so they can both still share the family home, each living in the home for a certain amount of time each year. You can divide your assets however you wish as long as you can agree and the division is fair.
Not all assets are created equal. Some are emotional assets that carry far more worth than their market value while others are nothing more than an account balance. A skilled mediator can help you make the distinction between the two and negotiate an agreement with your spouse. This is the best way to divide emotional assets because it allows you to stay 100% in control of what happens to them. If you have questions about asset division, contact Mediation Advantage Services for expert family law help. Experienced in divorce mediation, Polly A. Tatum can provide you and your spouse with the information and guidance needed to fairly divide your assets. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session.
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