Assets and Liabilities


Guidelines for Division

Court-based guidelines tend toward equal division of assets and debts accrued during the marriage.

Separate Property

Assets and debts from before the marriage are usually considered separate and are not divided. Some monies obtained during the marriage are also excluded, such as inheritance, a parental gift specifically to one spouse or the other, or an insurance settlement related to an accident.

However, if originally separate monies became mixed with other monies in joint accounts, these assets might no longer be considered separate.

Private Businesses

Private businesses are divided in a different way from other assets. Key factors include premarital investment, ownership, and the type and amount of contributions to the business by each spouse.

Collaborative Divorce

In Collaborative Divorce, clients need to understand how the court manages assets and debts, but they are free to make their own decisions.


If clients agree, they can divide assets and debts as they wish.

If clients don’t agree, the lawyers’ assessment of legal presumption and likely court outcome may provide a useful reference.