If you resolve your divorce amicably, either through an uncontested divorce process, mediation, or a collaborative divorce, you will end up signing a Marital Settlement Agreement. The purpose of this document is to list out all of the terms of your divorce, including which of you will receive which assets and which debts, or some specific portion of various assets and debts (in other words, memorializing the terms of your equitable distribution). It is very important that your Settlement Agreement be as exhaustive as possible and include every asset of some significance.
Most couples can work out personal property (furniture, clothes, appliances, etc.) without needing to clutter up a Settlement Agreement with such minute details. However, failure to include important assets can lead to confusion in the future over who it belongs to after the divorce is finalized. Here is a list of assets we have found are commonly overlooked when divorcing:
- Cryptocurrency. This has become a major source of investment for many people. As such, it should be treated like any other marital asset and distributed according to the couple’s wishes. All cryptocurrency accounts and amounts should be disclosed the same as bank accounts and investment accounts. You should consult with a financial specialist if you are unclear on the monetary worth of cryptocurrencies as some can have a very significant value.
- Jewelry. If you have jewelry you believe to be of significant value (which is for each couple to decide for themselves), then there is a good chance it should be included in the Settlement Agreement. If the jewelry is of such a value, occasionally an appraisal will need to be performed to determine its total overall value. But remember, wedding rings and engagement rings are not considered marital assets and are not subject to equitable distribution.
- Hotel or Vacation Points. These can be quite easy to forget about when you are navigating a divorce. But they can have value, and if nothing else it should be clear who is going to keep them and whether and how a transfer will be necessary to make that happen.
- Future tax refunds for the prior year. If you are anticipating receiving a tax refund during or after the divorce, for a year in which you filed as married and are both entitled to a refund, you should ensure that is addressed in clear terms in your Settlement Agreement. Some tax refunds are for substantial amounts and should not be overlooked. The same goes true for tax liabilities as well.
- Frequent Flyer Miles. Similar to hotel and vacation points, frequent flyer miles are easy to miss but can provide plenty of value. Check to see whether and how frequent flyer miles can be transferred from one spouse to another if that is part of the Settlement Agreement.
- Paid Time Off/Sick Leave Time. Florida law provides that accrued vacation and/or sick time which is unused at the time of divorce is a marital asset and subject to equitable distribution. Not all vacation and sick time is created equal, however. The employee must be eligible to be compensated for unused hours upon termination of employment. This includes military vacation and sick time as well. The non-employee spouse cannot choose to exercise the vacation or sick time on behalf of the employee spouse, so the total value of the benefit should be determined so the employee spouse can “buy out” the non-employee spouse for their share of the leave time’s value.
- Cemetery Plots. Many spouses make arrangements to be buried next to each other. This can be an expensive arrangement and should thus be addressed in the Settlement Agreement. Otherwise, if there is lack of clarity after someone has passed away, it can lead to a host of complications. Further, if one former spouse re-marries and wants to use the burial plot for their new spouse, if the agreement is silent as to who has claim to the burial plots, it is entirely possible that neither former spouse will be able to use the burial plots with a new spouse.
Equitable Distribution can be a daunting and complicated process, particularly for longer marriages which have had more time to accrue more marital assets. This is why it is important to have an attorney review your equitable distribution, even if you don’t need legal advice on how to split things up. Ensuring that you get your Marital Settlement Agreement done correctly and completely the first time can avoid uncertainty and potential legal intervention in the future. We at Artemis Family Law Group are ready to discuss your thoughts about equitable distribution and the status of your Settlement Agreement. Please click here to schedule a consultation at your convenience.