Asset Division: Making A List Of Marital Property

When you are asked as part of your divorce to make a list of all marital (jointly owned) property, what should you include? Every couple will have a unique set of assets to list, from the family home to home electronics. If you are just getting started, here’s a quick rundown of common items to include as you gear up to divide marital assets.

First, stay organized as you go about this task. Create a spreadsheet or use a page in a notebook to set up four columns labeled as follows: Name of Property, Marital/Nonmarital (to help you distinguish separate property), Estimated Value, and Who Gets? (make a note of your desire for who keeps the property or what percent; also note any agreements the two of you have concerning the property). Common types of property to list on this chart include:

Cash: For each account of any kind, list the name of the bank, savings & loan, credit union, CDs, etc., and the account number. Make copies of the most recent bank statements for each account to keep with the list.

Stocks and bonds: List all stocks, bonds, or other “paper” investments. Write down the number of shares and the name of the company that issued them. Also, copy any notation such as common or preferred stock or shares. A statement from the stock broker will contain this information, as do most stock certificates. Make a copy of the certificate or the statement.

Real estate: Real estate (or any other property) may be in both of your names, in your spouse’s name alone, or in your name alone. If you are not sure which one it is in your case, try to find the deed to the property, mortgage papers, payment coupons, homeowners insurance papers, or a property tax assessment notice. These can help you verify if you do indeed have an ownership claim.

Vehicles: This category includes cars, trucks, recreational vehicles (RVs), motorcycles, boats, aircraft, and any other means of transportation for which New Jersey requires a title and registration. Your description should include each vehicles make, model, year, and vehicle identification number (VIN). All of this information can usually be found on the title for the vehicle. Check out the blue book values for the estimated value of used cars and trucks, or try calling a dealer to see if it can give you a rough idea of the value.

Furniture: List furniture as specifically as possible so there is no confusion that master bed means the high pillow top mattress you just bought, and not the 30-year old mattres in the guest bedroom.

Appliances and electronics: Include refrigerators, lawn mowers, power tools, phones/smartphones, computers, with as much information as you can about each item’s make, model, and serial number.

Jewelry and valuables: Include jewelry, silverware, original art, gold, coin collections, antiques, etc. Be as detailed and specific as possible. Do not list costume jewelry. You can likely plan on keeping your own personal watches, rings, etc.

Life insurance with cash surrender value: Any life insurance policy that you may cash in or borrow against, should be listed.

Any other big ticket or emotional items: List anything that the two of you purchased together over the course of your marriage that be subject to disputed claim. This includes items such as a portable spa, an aboveground swimming pool, golf clubs, pool tables, camping, hunting or fishing equipment, farm animals, and pets.