No matter what kind of divorce you decide on, contested or not, it is essential to locate your total marital assets before being able to finalize any kind of fair settlement agreement. Legally, the marital estate is defined by the spouse’s particular state’s Equitable Apportionment Statute, or another statute along the same lines, as it may vary from state to state. However all states have such a statute to ensure that no partner in a divorce is left without their share of both marital assets and liabilities. Such laws and statures usually include everything financially related that has been accumulated during the marriage, both assets and debts alike. Of course there are some instances where this may not be the case, perhaps if only one spouse was working and incurred all debt in their name solely, but such exceptions would have to be reviewed with an attorney.
To begin this information acquiring process, one must begin to find all relevant information and documentation, no matter which spouse signed for it, nor whose name the asset is titled in. Since an “asset” is considered anything of value that you own, including your home, vehicles, or savings accounts, they are worth quite a bit if you collectively add everything together. Do not consider the debt on the assets right away because mortgages and car notes and the related debts will be disclosed on a different list. This list will ultimately be labeled your “net” marital estate.