Mediate This!

Divison of Assets and Liabilities in a Divorce Mediation Agreement

February 25, 2022 Matthew Brickman, Sydney Mitchell Season 1 Episode 48
Mediate This!
Divison of Assets and Liabilities in a Divorce Mediation Agreement
Show Notes Transcript

Do you live in a equitable distribution state? That doesn't mean equal or fair, it means "equitable" - so just what does that mean? Matthew Brickman and Sydney Mitchell answer your most frequently asked questions about divorce as they go over several key points:

  • Assume nothing.
  • Know who you are before you get married. 
  • Know who you're getting married to. 
  • Know the laws and statutes in the state you live in.
  • Don't take advice from anyone who isn't a legal professional in the state in which you're getting married and living in.

If you have a matter, disagreement, or dispute you need professional help with then visit iMediate.com - Email mbrickman@ichatmediation or Call (877) 822-1479

Matthew Brickman is a Florida Supreme Court certified family and appellate mediator who has worked in the 15th and 19th Judicial Circuit Courts since 2009 and 2006 respectively. But what makes him qualified to speak on the subject of conflict resolution is his own personal experience with divorce.

Download Matthew's book on iTunes for FREE:
You're Not the Only One - The Agony of Divorce: The Joy of Peaceful Resolution

Matthew Brickman
President iMediate Inc.
Mediator 20836CFA
iMediateInc.com

Sydney Mitchell:

Hi, my name is Sydney Mitchell.

Matthew Brickman:

Hi, I'm Matthew Brickman, Florida Supreme court mediator. Welcome to the Mediate This! Podcast, where we discuss everything mediation and conflict resolution.

Sydney Mitchell:

Well , welcome everyone today, Matthew and I , wanna dive into the division of assets and liabilities within a mediation agreement. So we're on zoom here, doing this podcast. We've got a mediation agreement on our computers. U m, and I know many of our listeners probably are from Florida, but a lot of you guys are maybe in other states, o ther countries, u m, Matthew, at least let's start with in Florida kind of outline the process of how assets i n d epth get divided. Is it a straight 50, 50? You know, there's j ust, there's so many questions, u h, that I have a nd our listeners probably have about what it looks like to divide assets upon getting divorced. So Matthew, u m, just get us started k ind o f introduce us to what this process looks like and how it starts.

Matthew Brickman:

Okay. So in Florida I can talk about Florida because that's where , uh, that's where I am. Um, in Florida, we are what they call an equitable distribution state. Um, equitable does not mean equal. Um, equitable does not mean fair, sort of a balance of the two. Um, it's equitable. So generally it's 50 50. So how do we figure that out? Anything that somebody acquires, whether it's an asset, like a car money , uh , stocks, bonds, retirement account, a home, anything that somebody may acquire from the date that they sign their marriage certificate until the date that they file their divorce papers, anything within that quadrant or those parameters is considered marital. Um, and it gets split 50 50. Now there are some times when it does not get split 50 50, so let's go down scenario. One of when it would not be split 50 50 .

Sydney Mitchell:

And just to clarify for our listeners, Matthew, like you said, this is from the date beginning of the marriage to the divorce. So anything that you've accumulated prior to the marriage and does not considered a marital asset

Matthew Brickman:

You yes and no. And that's where I'm going with. Okay . Okay . Yes .

Sydney Mitchell:

Ignore me Matthew.

Matthew Brickman:

Just yes, yes. And

Sydney Mitchell:

What we need to know.

Matthew Brickman:

Yeah. So yes and no. So first off, like I said, anything that you accumulate data, marriage data filing is 50 50. So when is it not 50. 50. Okay. So one time where it would not one example where it would not be 50 50 is let's say for example, that either the husband or the wife I've had it both ways in mediation has an affair. Okay . And they are spending money or buying things, or maybe they've been racking up debt on their credit card. Having the extramarital affair. I had a mediation where the husband had hotel charges , um, had airfare , um , to go and see the mistress. Right. Um , I actually had one where the wife was the one having the affair and she was, you know, she was at the liquor store. It was on there. She was buying things when she was with her, you know, extramarital affair. Um, you know, I've had where they're buying flowers, where they've taken cruises, like basically, you know, what, what we call the legal term of the dissipation of marital assets. So it's dissipation and waste. So you're using, remember I said anything from data marriage to data filing, even that you're accumulating, let's say that you're going to work. You're accumulating money. That's marital doesn't matter. Who's making it it's marital. Right? Well, so they're using Mari marital funds for an extra marital relationship. Well, that means that , you know, let's say for example, that it's my debt. Well, you're not gonna get strapped paying 50% of debt that I've accumulated on an extramarital relationship. Like

Sydney Mitchell:

Those I'm sure a lot of partners would be left , uh , in really unfortunate circumstances. Sure . This not had a solution.

Matthew Brickman:

Sure. So, so one, one time where it would not be a straight 50 50, if is, is there marital, dissipation and waste? Okay . That's one time. Another time is, let's say for example. Um, and I think we may have touched on this in another episode and we were talking about which retirement accounts, right? So let's say for example, that the husband has been working for American airlines. He's been working there since he was in his twenties. He met and married his wife in his thirties, they're now in their fifties getting divorced. So he had about 10 years of accumulating that retirement account before he got married. So the wife is not entitled to 50%. It wouldn't be a okay data , marriage, data filing. It would be for just the marital component. So let's say for example, that he had $10,000 in there prior, now he has a hundred. Well, so there's only 80 that's marital, right? Because the first part of it, well, that was his. Now this is where we look at data, marriage, data filing, let's say for example, and I've had this recently where, you know, they've hired the attorneys, it's taken a while to get through the process. And you and I have talked about this in other episodes, we're where, you know, hiring attorneys, there's the legal process that just has to take place things legally that have to take place once attorneys are involved. And that can put a delay, you know, just because of getting documents and timelines and just all the legal rules where, you know, they may have filed in 2019, it's now 2022 that we're recording this. And so, you know, the husband's been putting into his retirement even after data filing. Remember we said data , marriage, data filing, right? So let's say for example, same American airlines , uh , employee. He had money, you know, he worked for American airlines 10 years prior to the marriage. Then he's got his marital component, but he filed in 2019. It's 20, 22. He's been putting in ever since, right this entire time. So what we have to do in mediation is we actually go in here and we , and , and we, we put the parameters in there for the actuary. So in order to do the division, we've talked about this in previous episodes, you know, to do a qualified domestic relations order , a Quandro for this, we give the actuary the parameters and we say, okay, you need to get, you know, the husband needs to get these documents to the actuary. And then the actuary will look and we will put marital portion, data, marriage. We put the date data filing, we put the date. So the actuary will then get all the documents from the husband and they'll look and say, okay , what is the data marriage? Okay. And they'll get a statement that says, okay, the husband had X amount of dollars prior, fine. Then they get this statement, date of filing. And I said , okay , here's what it is. Data filing, whatever the husband's put in since the data filing is non-marital. So that's not 50 50 . And anything that the husband put in pre-marital is non-marital right. So that's not so, so that's not 50 , 50 only the marital portion, but then here's what I've been running into lately is some creative arguments from people where here we are now say two, three years down the road after data filing. And they're saying, okay, we need the most current statement. And the wife is to get 50% plus supposed to get 50% of the gains and losses or the interests or whatever, since then, as of the date of distribution. Well , that that's partially true. She gets gains and losses on just her marital portion. So let's say that there's a hundred thousand, let's just do this. There's a hundred thousand dollars in the account as of the data fired . Okay . But let's say there was $10,000 premarital. And let's say that there's 10, I'm just gonna use some round numbers and there's $10,000 . Postmarital right. So actually when we're looking at a statement in mediation, there's probably cuz we're asking for the most recent, there's probably $110,000 in there. Right. But we know that we need to take out the 10 prior and the 10 post. So that's 20. Right. And so we know that , um, we know what the marital portion is. So we divide that in half and then whatever the gains and losses are on just the wife's neuro portion , she's gonna get those on top of her marital portion when it finally gets divided.

Sydney Mitchell:

OK .

Matthew Brickman:

Because you know, the market is constantly going up and down. And so if there's gains, she realizes the gains. If there's losses, she's gonna suffer losses, just like he is on his half right Now. She doesn't get the gains and losses on the total amount at the data distribution, she gets her gains and losses on just her half. Does that make sense?

Sydney Mitchell:

Yep .

Matthew Brickman:

So that the time, so, so Vance , when it would not be a straight 50 50 , so that's the second scenario is if it's premarital or postmarital, but like, look , let's talk just tangible assets, forget about accounts. Let's talk about like tangible assets. So like, you know, how do we divide up the pots, the pans, the drapes, the bedding, like all the stuff in the house. Right. Well,

Sydney Mitchell:

And part of the , I mean I would personally, if you've been listening , uh , to the podcast, you know that I'm single, I'm not married, so, so I've never been in this situation. Okay. But I would just kind of assume that a lot of those smaller assets, you could just kind of sort it out, you know, I, I guess I'm just shocked to even hear you bring up this conversation because I'm because I'm just sitting here thinking like, okay, can y'all at figure that part out. Can you resolve that? That's the right . The smallest conflict of all the things that this divorce process is gonna take. So do most families really have to go down to that level of, of, you know, if you're gonna consider a pot , a liquidated asset here. Sure. You know, is that, are , are , are families really having to get to that level and negotiate even small things in the home?

Matthew Brickman:

Some families. Yes. And if you remember, you know, any of our listeners have been listening for a while , we'll remember back to a lot of our early episodes where we're talking about where does conflict arise and about how to negotiate conflict. And a lot of times, you know, Sydney , when we get to this piece, people are feeling DISD. They're , you know, they're emotional. So you know what, they will spend thousands of dollars on attorney's fees and mediation and stuff to argue over a $10 toaster. Yeah. Because they're emotional. It , it makes no logical sense and you're sitting here ever being in it

Sydney Mitchell:

And I've never been there. So I'm not dish on anybody who's in the situation. I just,

Matthew Brickman:

Well, but , but being that you've never been in it, you're thinking like a logical, rational, human being, not an emotional human being. Right. And you've gotta think, well, people that are in it a lot of times are emotional. And so think , and, and , and here here's the other thing, here's , here's something else that I learned. So, you know, when I first started doing mediation, I started with small claims court . And with that, it it's interesting because people would, people would nickel and dime over the smallest stupidest little things, but it was the principle. Sure. And sometimes people will get caught up in their things. Purely for the principle. Tell you , I'll tell you , I'll tell you a story that I've told millions of times. And I think we probably even talked about on the podcast about my very first mediation, which was a military where we had pages and pages and pages and pages and pages of every single D V D CD, hand towel, dish bar of soap. I mean, everything because everything had to be accounted for because it was on a military base in crates .

Sydney Mitchell:

So it was already accounted for it wasn't

Matthew Brickman:

It was already accounted for. So we just had, so we're going down the list going, okay, who wants to send a res CD or DVD who wants the Pinocchio DVD ? Like, and, and I thought that was normal. That was my very first mediation. I thought that was normal. So come my second mediation. I'm like, okay, gimme the list of all your stuff. And then he looked at me like, what do you mean the list of all of our stuff. Right . I thought that was normal. Um , not normal. I think I might have had that a few times in like 2,600 media to date , like yeah . You know, years and years. So that's not normal

Sydney Mitchell:

Was I had to sit here and create a list for you of literally every item my own in the house. I just gotta be exhausting.

Matthew Brickman:

Yeah. So, so you know what, like, like in my own divorce Sydney , I think there were like a few things. There was a handful of things that I wanted, you know, I wanted, you know, I wanted, and it was funny. I wanted my satellite dish, I wanted my computer, I wanted my clothes and I wanted my car. Other than that, I didn't care. Keep it all, you know,

Sydney Mitchell:

I need to understand like some larger pieces of furniture, you know, some more expensive. Yeah .

Matthew Brickman:

Well, and, and , and you know what, sometimes in Sydney , sometimes parents, parents will argue over like the kids' toys or the kids' furniture. Um, sometimes they're tied to a piece of furniture, give you an example. My very first mediation we had negotiated , uh , I don't even remember how many pages and pages and pages of assets, it seven hours of negotiating all of their stuff. Right. And we got down to a kitchen Hutch and a bed and the wife wanted both of them and the husband, he didn't care which one he got, he just wanted one of and probably

Sydney Mitchell:

Outta principle.

Matthew Brickman:

Oh , well she did. She did. She , she did. And, and so, you know, they , they were arguing over two pieces of furniture, furniture that could be easily replaced. Sure . The problem though, was there was this emotion that was driving the why behind the, what of why she wanted, because she wa she was, she had been cheated on and she wanted these things and vindication and, you know, a lot of the emotional reasons. Um, and so sometimes people are tied to a particular thing. I have seen some crazy things recently, and it's February 20, 22. Um , and I've seen some pretty crazy things recently where people are fighting for homes that they cannot afford, but they want the home so bad, but they're tied to a building that they, that they can afford.

Sydney Mitchell:

And is it just the , the competition of, I wanna be the one that ends up with it is that sometimes.

Matthew Brickman:

Yeah . Yeah. I mean , again, it goes to the principle , um , or it goes to feeling like I won , um , or, you know, sometimes I've, I've , you know, I've had, 'em in like an abusive relationship, maybe not physical, but mental or financial, you know, where there's a stronghold where there's like a dictatorship type of a , you know, a, a , uh , relationship where this is their , this is their freedom and they're gonna fight for it. And you know, this is their, this is, you know, what they want. And so look, you know what, I'm, I'm in mediation, I'm the mediator. I'm not there to judge anybody. And, and I'm, I'm there to help them negotiate, empower them to get them through

Sydney Mitchell:

Excited . They wanna ,

Matthew Brickman:

Yeah. Now sometimes there's people like, like, like , like what I did, where they've got a couple of things, they've got a couple of things which are like, look, I want these things. And , and , and I always tell people, look, if there is something that you unequivocally absolutely have to have put it in the document, if the two of you work it out, or if you're pretty sure the two of you can work it out then fine. But if you absolutely want a legal binding contract that says that you're entitled to take this, then yes, you want it in here. So sometimes I, it's funny. Sometimes I had a guy that was fighting for a law. He wanted his writing lawn mower. The problem that was the wife was keeping the home with the three acres. And he was moving into an apartment company . What are you doing with a lawnmower? Right . He wanted his lawn , he bought it, he wanted it, it was a pure principle. And it's like, but you're not like you're not gonna use it.

Sydney Mitchell:

Yeah . Didn't care. I , you said something a moment ago that I wanna touch on. And then I know we've got, yeah . Tons to talk about here, looking at the mediation agreement. But , um, you said the statement , um, like for somebody to feel that they've won, you know, they , they just wanna win . Do you have any advice or just any like nuggets you wanna give to our listeners who may be finding themselves in that situation? Um, you know, just, just trying to win the most that they can. How would you speak to that and how they can best navigate that as they're walking through the , their situation?

Matthew Brickman:

So two things , um, my first piece of , uh, my first you've you had put it like this in , in a previous , uh , podcast that I love. I'm gonna give you a nugget to put in your lunchbox. OK . Lunch box . I love that . Good . Yeah . Nugget to put in your lunch box first, first off, pick and choose your battles. Like, is this a hill you want to die on? Right. Like really? And you always, always, always have to understand the power of the court when you're negotiating. Like, what would a judge do? Because that'll give you a good basis to negotiate. Like, if you're fighting for principle for something that you will never get in court, you really want to die on this. So you wanna blow up an entire agreement over something that even a judge doesn't have the authority to do. So understand your, you know , the power of the court, your judge, what the laws are in your state, like understand that when you're negotiating, right. The next thing, and you and I have talked about consuming and creating value. Remember , remember we talked about hungry , hungry hippo, the old game where, you know, a lot of people, a lot of people come to the negotiation table. Um, and they , you know, resources are scarce. Emotions are high and they will grab anything and everything just like those hippos grabbing as many marbles, even if they don't even care about it, just so they can feel like they want. The problem though is, and , and my job as the mediator is to help them, not just claim value, but look, to see where you can create value. And so sometimes it's about slowing down, picking and choosing your battles, understanding the power of the court, and then looking at something and saying, do I want, because I want it, or do I want this because I need it. Or do I want this just because I want this or do I want this? And maybe then I can trade it for something else that I actually want. And , and , and only the people know exactly what those things are . Cuz look, you know what, as an attorney, we only know what they tell us and show, show us as a mediator. I only know what I'm told and shown the parties know what's really going on behind the scenes. Right? And so, and, and they've got their own ideas of what they, of, of , you know, everything going on behind the scenes. Generally though, Sydney generally in a mediation agreement, it's gonna say one of two things, generally, if the parties are living separate and apart already, if like the husbands moved out or the wife has moved out , um, and if they're not living in the same residence and if they've already divided up their things and nobody has something that, that the other person wants, then you know what? We will have a general state that says assets in the wife's possession, she'll retain and assets in the husband's possession. He's gonna retain done. We're done right now. I had a mediation recently where actually I've had a couple of 'em recently where the parties are still living together. They're still in the same home. So we can't say the assets and the wife's possession she's gonna keep and the assets. And the husband says , because they're both in the same place having the same possessions, that's just gonna create an issue. Right ? So what we put is, and , and what I , what I like to do is be prevented instead of doing damage control. I like to explain what's going on in my agreements. So I'll put at the time of executing this agreement, the husband and the wife are still living in the same residence. The parties shall attempt to divide all of their amongst themselves. If the parties are unable to divide their assets, they'll return back to mediation before filing an action with the court and having the court decide the issue. So this is gonna do a couple different things, Sydney , number one, it's going to give the people the power to take control of their lives and divide up their own pots and pans and dishes and all their stuff. Right? Number two, it's, it's going to put in a trigger mechanism that says, look, if they're unable to do it, instead of running to the court, clogging up the system, having the tax payers pay to have a judge decide what they're going to do with their toaster and their drapes and their bedding , right. They will first come back to mediation and have a neutral person try to help them negotiate around it. Okay . But here's the other thing is to come back to mediation, makes both of them have skin in the game. They both will to pay the mediator, to help them figure out what to do with their things. So do you really wanna come back to mediation and pay hundreds of dollars to divide up used pots and pans? Furniture's blender , like really? Or do you think you can be grown enough and get past the emotion to take care of it yourself? Now, if you, if you can't then fine, you can then submit to the court to let the judge figure it out. Here's the problem though . Let's say for example, two people come to mediation who knows how long after they have filed. They're finally in mediation with, or without attorneys. Right? We put that clause in here. They both say, yeah, I think we can figure it out. They go away. Time goes by. They're still living together. Maybe they're waiting to sell the home. Then they go to divide it. They can't figure it out. So they have to call may . Then they have to get on my schedule. Then they have to come to mediation. They still can't figure it out. So now they want to file with the court. That means they have to open their case back up. It could be months. I mean, could be six months before they're gonna get in front of a judge in order for a judge to figure it out. You know what, just figure it out. Sure. It's replaceable. And so, you know, we do the same thing with like bank accounts, you know, that will go into the equitable distribution charts and stuff for like bank accounts. Like, like we had talked about in the previous episode about retirement accounts, what are we doing to figure all of that out? Um, cars, cars is enough . Other thing, you know, usually, you know, husband will keep his car. Wife will keep her car. Like we're not gonna give like the husband, both cars or the wife, both cars, but here's the deal. If you're taking the car and if there's a loan on the car, you're taking the car, you're also taking the debt associated with the car. Like you're responsible for your car. Um, sometimes what we have to build into this is maybe there's a title transfer. So let's say for example, that , um , the husband and wife are both on the loan and the wife still is making, wife's gonna keep her car. Let's say that she's gonna keep her Volkswagen Jetta. Well , we , but she owes the bank for it . Right? So we're gonna put in there that once the car is paid in full, the husband will cooperate with the execution of any title. Transfer. Wife is responsible for the fees to get her own plate, her own insurance, her own, you know, registration or whatnot , but we'll put in timelines and stuff. So that again, once they're finally divorced, there's not still conflict going on as they're trying to work through things, once things are paid off. Um, generally in this last section is interesting. So , um, it says here wife shall retain her clothing, jewelry and personal effects. And we have the same section here for the husband. Husband shall Recla his , uh , retain his clothes , jewelry and per effects . I had a mediation one time. It's only been one time, but it did happen where I look at the husband. I said, you're gonna keep your clothing jewelry and personal effects. He's like, yeah. And I looked to the wife and I said, and you're gonna keep all of your clothing, jewelry and personal effects. And she goes, I certainly hope so. And he says, no. And I'm like, what? Sometimes be careful. I was gonna ask about this. Yeah . Sometimes, sometimes like what? Like, okay, well you just opened up a whole can of worm. So then the water works start and you know, the wife starts crying and the husband, you know, explains to me that, you know, the reason for the divorce is you, he likes to cross dress and likes to go out, dressed as a woman. She, at first wasn't okay with it. Then she was okay with us , like going out with your girlfriend. But then it was her husband and she got tired. She was like, I wanna go out with my husband, not with, you know, him dressed as a woman. Well, he wanted half of her dresses and costume jewelry shoes. Oh , well ,

Sydney Mitchell:

That's not what I was thinking about. Oh ,

Matthew Brickman:

Okay . So , yeah .

Sydney Mitchell:

But I , but I'm loving where the story's going.

Matthew Brickman:

Yeah . Yeah . So I've only had it one time where he wanted half of her clothing, jewelry and personal effects. Um,

Sydney Mitchell:

So I'm thinking , but

Matthew Brickman:

It happens and I'm not in a place to judge. I'm like, okay . So, you know, so of course we had to get through the whole thing and then, but then she was not gonna be giving up very easily, certain dresses and shoes . And so then we had to negotiate what he was going to take. You know, I mean, look, it's mediation. Everything is, we we've said this before . Everything is negotiable. Um, and look , mediation is the greatest place . There's, there's , it's not a place of judgment. I'm there to help get everybody through it. Like, let me get through this as peacefully as inexpensively and as expeditiously as possible, no matter what.

Sydney Mitchell:

So my question was gonna be, you know, let's say there's a husband who's purchased, you know, 15 grand in jewelry for his wife. Yep . That's, that's kind of where I was thinking, you know, you might might take that example is okay. You know, how have you seen that handled?

Matthew Brickman:

Oh yeah. Well, so, so usually with that Sydney , it's usually a ring necklace. Um , I can't tell you how many times a men's Rolex, you know, $20,000 Rolex. Um, and so the , those things would go into the equitable distribution chart where, you know, when it's not costume jewelry , but it's like, and , and it's not just a few thousand dollars . We're talking like 20 grand, 50 grand, like we're talking a lot of money, those things then go into the equitable distribution chart. So maybe the wife does get to keep the $50,000 in jewelry. So the husband's giving up 25,000 , but you know what, he'll get to keep his Rolex. Sure. You know, and , and so she keeps 50,000, he keeps his 20,000. She's entitled to 10 of that. And, you know, and then maybe he gets an extra swing out of a bank account or a retirement account or some thing there, you know, to create equity. But yeah , when you have big ticket items like that, those go into an equitable distribution chart to be divided up value for value.

Sydney Mitchell:

And is there a minimum or maximum amount of money that an item is worth to be added to the equitable distribution chart ? Or it can be the person deems.

Matthew Brickman:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it could be anything whatsoever. I mean, I've even had a, you know, three we're and , and we're gonna get into liabilities in a moment, but a $300 balance on a credit card and it's in an ed chart. Yeah. And it's like, that means it's $150 each. Yeah. And, but keep in mind, you got 20 cards at $300 a piece we're talking a good chunk of money. Right. So it, it it's, it's what , what we ask for. And when I say we mediators and attorneys, or just a mediator, if there's no attorneys give, give us an , give us your financial affidavit, which is supposed to list all of your assets and liabilities. And then we'll figure out value for value dollar for dollar and create equity. Unless the party's sometimes Sydney . Um , I had a mediation recently where the husband and wife, I mean, even retirement accounts, pension, the home , um , cars stuff in the home , um, all of their stuff, they did not want , want to go dollar for dollar. They wanted concept, you know what, I'm gonna keep my bank account. She's gonna keep her bank accounts. We don't care if it's 50, 50, we just wanted , we're just gonna walk away. I'm gonna keep my stuff. She's gonna keep her stuff. And that's what we want. And I'm still like, all right , but we need to look at your financial affidavits. Okay. You realize it's not equal. And they said, yeah. And we are okay with it. Great. You're in mediation. You can do whatever you want, do what you want. Yep . Do what you want. And so liabilities , like I said, is the same exact thing where again, marital liabilities, data, marriage, data filing , um , you know, cut it in half. Anything that you accumulated prior. A lot of times, Sydney , we end up with like student loans where like someone was school prior to marriage. Now they're still in school, but we look okay, what were your loans, premarital, those are yours. What was, what , what loans did you apply for once you were married? Okay. Those are marital. Um, and then same thing, data filing after the data filing. If you want to run out and buy a new pickup , guess what that debt is on. You, that's your asset, but you know what, that's also non marital monies that are paying for it. And so liabilities are the same where, you know, data, marriage, data filing. Now, if you get an asset you're usually responsible for the liability on it. So again, like with the car , if you get awarded that Volkswagen Jetta where , you know what, you're also taking the debt on the Volkswagen , um, the only time where it's may not be like that is maybe, you know, maybe in lieu of alimony, they're gonna make the car payment. And I've had that too, where, you know, maybe now you're swapping for something else, but generally if somebody gets an asset, if there's a debt associated with that asset, you're responsible for that , uh , debt as well. Um , and then the other thing that we sometimes deal with, I haven't dealt with this too much in all the years that I've been doing it , but contingent assets or contingent liabilities, this would be something like, let's say, SI that , um, during the marriage, actually I can actually speak for this during, during the marriage, I'm in a car accident. Okay . I have a pending lawsuit now, you know, auto accidents take forever to settle. It could be years and years and years, right. That's a contingent asset that maybe depending on the , on the laws of the state, you know, in each, you know, the states have different rules about like, you know, what's a , you know , would a , would a wife, you know , or a spouse, not just a wife, but would a , a spouse be entitled to a piece of a personal injury , um, accident, lawsuit or whatnot , and there's rules and laws and stuff for that. But maybe that's a contingent asset or maybe taxes maybe during the marriage, the couple hasn't filed taxes in a number of years. And it's , I get that. It's really weird. Like what, like, come on, just pay your taxes, but maybe is a contingent liability. Like they haven't paid taxes and now they're gonna have to, you know, they've , they've , they've got to hire an accountant to do the taxes for the past three years. And look, if there's a contingent liability that they owe to the federal government, they're both gonna be liable. So in this section, we would put contingent asset or contingent law liability . If there's something that's pending, it's rare because usually they don't have something pending. It's already settled. It may be outstanding, but it's not pending. Does that make sense? Um, and so that's generally then in this section, that's generally how we divide up marital assets in light abilities, Occasionally Sydney and I will be releasing Q & A bonus episodes where we will answer questions and give you a personal shout out.

Sydney Mitchell:

If you have a comment or question regarding anything that we discuss, email us at info@ichatmediation.com that's info@ichatmediation.com and stay tuned to hear your shout out and have your question answered here on the show.

Speaker 3:

For more information about my services or to schedule your mediation with me, either in person or using my iChatMediation Virtual Platform built by Cisco Communications. Visit me online at www.iMediateInc.com. Call me at 561-262-9121, Toll-Free at 877-822-1479 or email me at MBrickman@iChatMediation.com.