What is a Marital Balance Sheet and Do I Need One?

If you’re in the middle of litigating over the financial issues in your case, you’ve probably heard about or even seen a draft of the marital balance sheet in your case. Marital balance sheets are spreadsheets that provide the court with a roadmap of the assets and liabilities in any case. They are useful in determining what, if any, assets there is to divide, what the marital debt to marital asset ratio is, and who owes what in the final division of assets.

 

Although the spreadsheet may look daunting, courts rely heavily on these sheets, so its very important to spend some quality time in making sure they are accurate. If your home has a value, but it is encumbered by a mortgage, the sheet would reflect the actual net-value of the home. If a judge orders a 50/50 division of the marital assets, then you would simply allocate each the property that is already in their possession or name, and then re-allocate some property or provide for a cash payout in order to ensure a proper division.

 

It is also very important to have accurate dates and balances for any checking accounts. Any expenses incurred after the separation should be non-marital. Any credit cards incurred during the marriage for marriage purposes should be marital regardless if one party was never privy to said expenses.

 

The balance should also reflect any pre-marital or non-marital assets in order to make a case for a disproportionate amount of the marital assets, such as a 60/40 division. For pensions and retirement accounts, make sure you have net values after taxes have been assessed.

 

Although the marital balance sheet may seem daunting or intimidating, it is a crucial and possible deal-breaker in your divorce. If any of the values are wrong, it could make a huge difference in the final division of assets. Talk to your attorney about your marital balance sheet to make sure that the information is accurate.

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