New Hampshire is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property is not necessarily split equally by a judge in a divorce. Instead, it is divided based on what is deemed most “equitable,” or fair, for both parties.
Dividing marital property is not an exact science, and there are always unique circumstances that complicate the process. However, preparing for property division negotiations ahead of time may help to keep things go as smoothly as possible.
Assess what you own and what you owe
Even before the divorce paperwork is filed, you can begin gathering documentation of all of your marital assets. You should have a clear picture of all of the bank accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, business assets and valuable physical property that you and your spouse own. You should also gather evidence of your income and your spouse’s income, if possible.
You and your spouse’s debts need to be accounted for right alongside marital assets. Like your assets, your debts will also be divided equitably. That means that several factors will be considered such as who benefitted from the debt and who has the means to pay the debt off.
Separate marital property and personal property
Any personal property that you or your spouse owned prior to the marriage will generally not be part of the property division process. Determining whether an asset is a personal or marital property is a crucial step in preparing your finances for divorce.
Decide what you want
Before you file the divorce paperwork and begin the property division process, you should have a clear idea of what you are negotiating for. Look at the tax implications of owning certain property and other factors before deciding what your idea of a reasonable settlement is. While you will most likely have to make some compromises, having an idea of what your property division goals are can help.