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Are Assets Acquired Before Marriage Protected from Division in a Nebraska Divorce?

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Can You Keep Your Personal Assets Safe in a Divorce?

If you’re divorcing or expecting a divorce in Nebraska, you should be treated fairly by the divorce court, and the terms of the divorce decree should accommodate your needs. A Lincoln divorce attorney will make sure that you are treated properly by the court.

Divorce is never easy, and apprehensions about your financial future may make your divorce even more difficult. How are marital assets divided in Nebraska divorce proceedings? How will a divorce lawyer make sure you receive everything that is rightfully yours?

The first thing you should know about divorcing in Nebraska is that it is advisable to have the  advice of a Lincoln divorce lawyer from the beginning. Before you file for divorce – or immediately after you learn that your spouse is considering divorce – speak with an attorney.

How will the Court Divide Assets?

Nebraska is an “equitable division state” – this means that the Court is attempting to achieve equitable and fair divisions, not necessarily 50/50 (although 50/50 is presumed to be fair under most circumstances).

In Nebraska, it does not matter whether an asset or debt is titled in only spouse’s name. If an asset was received during the marriage or a debt was incurred during the marriage, it is presumed marital and subject to being divided unless one of the narrow exceptions applies.

How Does a Court Divide Marital Assets and Properties?

Dividing the marital assets and properties starts with both divorcing spouses fully disclosing the details of their finances. An accurate disclosure by each spouse is necessary to ensure that the division of assets and properties will be fair and equitable.

After full financial disclosures are made, a determination must be made regarding which properties and assets belong to the marriage and which belong personally to each spouse. Marital property (the property that a couple acquires or earns during their marriage) may include all of the following, even if only one spouse’s name is on the asset or property:

  1.  real estate such as the family home, farmland, cabins, or investment properties
  2.  automobiles or other vehicles
  3.  businesses
  4.  checking accounts and savings accounts
  5.  jewelry, art items, family pets, and household furnishings
  6.  stocks and bonds, pensions, 401Ks, IRAs, and retirement accounts
  7.  reduction in one spouse’s premarital debt

What Assets Are Not Marital Assets?

Separate, personal assets are generally not subject to division. These include any assets that were acquired and belonged to only one partner before the marriage. Separate assets also include any inheritances or gifts received by only one partner during the marriage. Personal injury settlements are also generally considered to be personal.

In most cases, the assets that someone acquires before a marriage are safe from division in a Nebraska divorce.

However, the court may decide that if personal assets were used to benefit the other spouse, or if personal assets were shared with the other spouse, those assets are now to be considered marital assets (this is called “commingling”). Dividing personal assets and marital assets often is a significant source of contention in a divorce.

Nevertheless, a good Lincoln divorce attorney can often help divorcing spouses reach a voluntary agreement regarding properties and assets – an agreement that’s acceptable to both sides with no need for the court to divide the assets.

What Steps Does the Court Take?

When real estate is divided in a divorce, the court determines if a property is a separate property or a marital property. The court then determines the property’s value. Dividing real estate may be the most difficult part of a divorce, because determining the exact value of real estate isn’t easy and there are multiple types of values that can be considered by the Court..

Fluctuating market circumstances make it almost impossible to determine the exact value of any particular property for any length of time. Another matter that must be decided is whether a property will be sold (and the proceeds divided) or kept by one spouse in exchange for another consideration.

Is Your Spouse Hiding Assets?

In some divorces, one spouse may not make a full disclosure of his or her personal or marital properties and assets. If the spouse you’re divorcing fails to disclose fully all of his or her assets and properties, you could end up being cheated out of what is legally and rightfully yours.

Divorcing spouses may overstate their debts and expenses, understate their incomes, and undervalue, understate, or hide particular marital assets – often in creative ways.

An out of state or foreign bank may be used to hide marital assets, or assets may be transferred temporarily to a friend or a relative. Some people have actually buried cash. If your spouse is hiding something, you must be represented by an attorney who has experience and skill in finding hidden assets.

If you believe the spouse you are divorcing may be hiding assets, tell your divorce lawyer, who will launch an investigation. Finding hidden assets may be the most important reason why you should not act as your own divorce lawyer.

How Will Your Lawyer Protect Your Personal Properties and Assets?

In complicated divorces, an attorney may recommend hiring a financial expert. Divorce attorneys sometimes now also use advanced software and a variety of high-tech tools to identify and locate hidden marital assets so that divorcing spouses don’t lose what is legally and rightfully theirs.

If you are divorcing in Nebraska, take the steps necessary to protect your future. The right Lincoln divorce lawyer will use every legal tool available to ensure that every asset is disclosed and appraised accurately and that your interests are fully protected in the divorce process.

Which Attorney Should Handle Your Divorce?

With so many lawyers practicing in and near Lincoln, how can you find a divorce lawyer who will fight hard for what is yours and make your case a priority? Family law attorney Vanessa J. Gorden and the legal team at Gorden Law will ensure that you are treated properly and fairly by the court and that you receive everything that is rightfully yours.

Attorney Vanessa J. Gorden has considerable experience resolving the most acrimonious and complicated divorce disputes. She provides sound advice and effective representation to clients in Lancaster County and throughout the state of Nebraska.

If you are divorcing, considering divorce, or anticipating that your spouse will be divorcing you, promptly contact Gorden Law by calling 402-817-1450 to schedule your strategy session.

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