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Division of marital assets can impact divorcee long-term

In each marriage, one person typically manages the couple's finances. This is the spouse who pays the bills and keeps track of earnings and debts. If the couple decides to dissolve their marriage and move on with their lives, this person may appear to have an advantage with respect to the division of marital assets, as he or she likely has a more complete picture of the couple's financial situation. However, the other spouse can take some steps to make sure that he or she isn't being short-changed during the divorce proceeding in Alaska.

First, it helps to review the couple's past tax returns. This will provide information about what monies are available and where they may be kept in the marriage. In addition, it helps to locate data about the couple's debts. Knowing this information can help to ensure that marital property and assets are divided properly.

If one party has an insurance policy listing a spouse as a beneficiary, it may be wise to change this as soon as possible. In addition, other important matters that must be addressed include how the marital home will be divided -- perhaps the two may agree to sell the home and divide the proceeds pursuant to an agreement. Each party will need to decide if they wish to buy a new home or simply rent one following the divorce.

Seeking a divorce in Alaska is certainly a life-changing decision. It can allow an individual to break free from an unfulfilling marriage. However, if the individual doesn't understand laws related to the distribution of marital property, the breakup also can end up costing the individual more than he or she had bargained for. Each spouse has a right to seek a division of marital assets and property that is fair and is in accordance with his or her personal goals.

Source: ABC News, "How to Protect Your Finances in a Divorce", AJ Smith, March 31, 2014

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