Pay Attention To The Small Things

As an Arizona State Bar Certified Specialist in family law matters in Arizona, my job in most divorces is to assist the parties in dividing up their major assets, typically the house, cars, business, and retirement accounts.  However, sometimes the smaller assets need to be discussed and divided as well.

There is always a balance needed.  It is not usually financially justifiable to pay attorneys hundreds of dollars per hour to assist in dividing up every fork in the drawer, and bluntly it may be cheaper to buy new silverware than to pay an attorney to go to court over the silverware.

Nonetheless, if one party is simply walking away from all of the small assets acquired over years of marriage, these may add up to a value of tens of thousands of dollars or more, and may be worth discussing in greater detail with your lawyer.

If you have any of the following assets, you should make sure that your attorney is aware of the existence and possible values for such assets:

  • Accrued sick leave or vacation time (earned during the marriage- but not yet used)
  • Time share or other pre-paid vacations
  • Credit card points or credit card miles
  • Prepaid burial plans
  • Book royalties, Patents, trademarks, or other intellectual property
  • Commissions to be paid in the future, for work solicited during the marriage
  • Memberships (clubs or country clubs, etc.)
  • Whole life or Universal life insurance (with a cash value, not just a death value)
  • Stamp, sport card, or coin (or other) collections
  • Guns and ammunition
  • Jewelry

I have also been involved in cases where a business has had a large tax loss in prior years, which can be divided so that each party can take some of the tax-loss carry-forward to reduce future tax consequences.

In today’s world, more and more people have invested in cryptocurrencies, or have stashed away silver or gold coins or bars.

While your attorney will (or should) know more about the law then you ever will, you as the client will know more about your life, your assets, and your spouses’ assets than your attorney or the judge ever will.  Be sure that you are sharing this information and educating your attorney on what you and your spouse have acquired during the marriage so that such assets can be included in discussions for the division of the marital property.

Whether or not you have significant assets, if you are involved in a divorce, legal separation, or annulment case or other family law case, and if you have determined that you need experienced legal representation, please call 480 733-6800 and ask to speak with Douglas C. Gardner, or visit our website at