It is critical you tell me all you know about all the assets. Property includes real estate, and personal property, (both tangible and intangible). Property can include real estate, pensions (both vested and unvested plans), stock options, motor vehicles, businesses, coin or art collections—almost anything. Next, you must determine whether the particular piece of property is separate property and remains with the person who owned it. Separate property is usually acquired before the marriage or outside the marriage, such as by gift or inheritance. Marital property is usually acquired during the marriage. Under certain circumstances, marital property can include increases in value to separate property that occur during the marriage. Please fill out the Family Financial packet to the best of your ability.
If you and your spouse can agree on how things will be divided and if your agreement is reasonable, it will be approved by the Court. Otherwise, Nebraska is an equitable distribution state and the Court has the discretion to divide assets and liabilities as it deems is fair, just and not unconscionable. Courts generally will offset gifts, inheritance, all premarital property as your separate property as long as the asset has not been comingled into the marital estate and you are able to trace the nonmarital asset. The Court ultimately makes this determination.
Despite an agreement for one spouse to pay a debt that is in both parties’ names, there can still be problems with the enforcement of the payment for the debt. If the party responsible for the debt does not pay the debt, the other party can still be sued for the debt.
For example, the wife gets the house and agrees to pay the mortgage which is in the husband and wife’s name and the wife dies and/or goes bankrupt. The mortgage company can foreclose on the house if the payments go unpaid and sue the husband for any unpaid balance after foreclosure. The best way to protect the husband in this case would be for the wife to refinance the property and to remove the husband from the debt, if possible. Sometimes this is financially impossible for large debts such as houses wherein a spouse may be unable to refinance on their own.
Do not hide assets. These assets are usually found; and if they are found, you will have committed fraud on the Court. You will lose credibility with the Court and may have attorney fees assessed against you as a result. Be honest throughout this process.