When your marriage or relationship is heading for divorce – how do you figure out what’s really yours? Chatting with friends or family will provide you with endless opinions. And you know what they say about opinions… So – what’s the answer? How do you figure out what’s legally yours in a divorce or separation?
First, you might have heard about “community property states” and “separate property states” – two totally different concepts under the law. And like most things legal, the devil is in the details. New Mexico is a community property state, meaning that each person is entitled to half of the property acquired during the marriage. But certain exceptions do exist and each state has different community property laws. You should consult with an attorney for advice about your specific situation. It is also important to know that the debts acquired during the marriage are also considered “community” debts, meaning that each of you is equally responsible.
Divorce and the division of assets and liabilities is a specialized area of law requiring an experienced attorney that can help you navigate through the process and the courts. Domestic partnership agreements, prenuptial agreements, mutual debt/property agreements, tax implications, retirement accounts, savings accounts, real property (real estate), inheritance, and actually identifying and valuing each piece of personal property are all elements that require a thorough evaluation before anything is actually “divided”. And just to add more complication, many people residing in New Mexico have moved from a “separate property state” during the marriage. So then what’s “yours”?
It’s starting to get complicated, isn’t it? Even if you and your spouse/partner are willing to amicably end things – it’s still a very good idea to have a lawyer help guide you through the process. If you can collaborate on the division of what you own and what you owe, it will probably reduce legal costs and help to avoid later conflicts.