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5 assets you might not have considered with your divorce

If you're currently going through a divorce, you're probably quickly learning an important lesson: property division is not an easy process. This part of a divorce requires you to make an exhaustive inventory of all your assets -- as well as your debts -- so that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can take your fair share of the community property.

With so much to consider, however, it's not uncommon for couples to overlook certain assets. Here are just five often overlooked assets you may need to consider if you're going through a divorce.

1.  Apartments security deposits.

If you're renting a home, apartment, condo or other piece of real estate, it's important to check with your landlord about your security deposit. If you made the deposit after your were married, it could be considered community property and is subject to division.

Your landlord may have a specific process, however, regarding your deposit so it's important to check with them first before moving forward.

2.  Pension plans.

More common among older couples, pensions are another often overlooked asset in divorce. It's important to understand how the pension is setup and whether there are specific rules concerning its distribution during divorce. It's also important to consider when the pension was earned, which can also affect how or if it's divided.

3.  Stocks, including restricted stock options.

Stocks present a very unique issue for divorcing couples because there are a lot of factors to consider before they can be divided. Couples have to ask: when was the stock purchased? Was the stock offered as an option by an employer? Are there rules concerning what happens to the stock as it matures or when the individual will receive a payout for the stock? How is the stock valued for purposes of property division?

4.  Life insurance policies.

For couples who have children, it's important not to overlook existing life insurance policies when getting a divorce. Keeping life insurance in order during a divorce can offer some much needed stability during an uncertain time.

Individuals will want to consider making changes to beneficiaries on the policy and determining cash value of the policy, among other things, during divorce proceedings. Failing to do so can mean a legal headache later on that might require the intervention of a judge.

5.  Patents or other intellectual property.

Intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks and copyrights, can be incredibly valuable, which is why it's important to consider them during a divorce. You will need to know who owns the intellectual property and when it was created or claimed in order to determine how or if it will be divided.

Don't hesitate to retain legal counsel

Even though legal counsel is an added expense, retaining an attorney during a divorce is considered a good idea, especially if you have significant or complex assets. Overlooking any one of the assets above could result in a contentious dispute that could require litigation if an agreement can't be reached outside of the courtroom.

Having an attorney present gives you access to a wealth of information as well as an advocate if the situation should require intervention from the courts. 

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