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Property division: the pivot of divorce

As if divorce is not straining enough, the thought and process of property division can bring a lump to anyone's throat. Dividing a family's assets such as houses, retirement plans, pensions or stocks can sometimes be a challenge. To reduce the stress load, Maryland spouses should be cognizant of the many steps they can take to avoid any financial stings associated with the property division process.

It is imperative to reassess any joint, savings or investment accounts. The last thing spouses need is to have their accounts wiped clean by their exes. Closing and opening up a new account in one's own name not only jump starts his or her independence, but it also begins to re-build or raise individual credit. Improving one's score can help secure any future loans that may be needed.

The second largest financial asset owned by a married couple is a pension. Understanding the available options of splitting the pension, along with the impact each could have on a financial situation, is crucial for both parties. It's also wise to contact one's pension provider to determine any eligibility and to adjust any payments made to the pension fund.

Another important component of property division is the life insurance policy for each spouse. Re-evaluating the terms and the beneficiaries of the policies can prevent an ex-spouse from receiving a huge sum of cash following one's death. This also leads to the distribution of assets associated with any existing wills. The review of an existing estate plan is crucial, especially the current assets and beneficiaries.

Dividing up years of marriage can be excruciating for spouses and their families. When considering divorce, Maryland spouses should be mindful of all their options and how to proceed with them, especially when it comes to property division. Keeping finances in order can possibly prevent any unwanted hardships.

Source: cityam.com, "Avoiding the financial perils of divorce," Katherine Denham, Nov. 29, 2017

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