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The division of assets and liabilities tends to be a fairly straightforward issue. According to MyDomaine, the law says that there is to be an equitable division of your marital estate. Equitable almost always means equal. You can begin by creating a balance sheet. That balance sheet is going to outline all of the assets and debts that you have. Once you have captured all of those items, you will go ahead and value those items.

You may receive some of those values through various bank statements, credit card statements or retirement account statements. But some values need to be investigated further. You may need to, for example, have an appraisal done on your home. You may need to do a Kelley Blue Book analysis on a vehicle, or you may need to have a business appraised if you and your spouse are the owners of a business.

Once you have got those values put together, you can then add up all those pluses and minuses to arrive at something called your net marital estate. It is a marital estate because the law does carve out an exception for a non-marital property. A non-marital asset is something that was either inherited by one spouse or accrued before the marriage. You may remove any non-marital claim from the balance sheet or include it on the balance sheet as a zero.

Once you arrive at that net marital estate, you will divide it by two. Each of you is entitled to that amount equally, and then it’s a matter of horse-trading. You need to figure out if one party is going to take the house and the other takes a particular bank account or a vehicle. Once you add up those items, there may be an unequal distribution of the assets, and so you need to come up with an equalizer.