Seattle Divorce Property and Asset Division – Seattle Divorce Attorney Amanda DuBois
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Seattle Divorce Property and Asset Division – Seattle Divorce Attorney Amanda DuBois


Well, we’re arrived at the dreaded spreadsheet.
People get scared when I talk about a spreadsheet — my clients do — because they think that
means they have to get some kind of fancy computer program and come up with some kind
of complicated analysis to figure out what their financial situation is — that’s not
true — all you really have to do is have a piece of paper and a pen and some values
of your various assets. So to make this as simple as possible I’m
going to do it on a flip chart — this is what lawyers do in the courtroom all the time,
so hopefully it’s not going to look too goofy and I hope you can read it. But it’s pretty
simple — we’re going to put the value of your assets up on the spreadsheet — then
we’re going to put up the debts you have on those assets and then we’re going to figure
out what’s the net marital portion of your assets are. And then we’re going to talk a little bit
about separate assets. And we talked about the principles in all the other videos but
now it’s all going to come together. And it’s important to see how it comes together because
once you see it on piece of paper and it doesn’t quite look so scary, I think it’s going to
make you feel way more confident that you can pull all this together. So we’ve talked about assets –we’re going
to have a house, we’re going to have retirement, we’re going to have cars, we’re going to have
separate assets, community or marital assets. Once you see how they come together on a spreadsheet,
I’m positive you can do this for yourself. And as we’ve talked about a whole bunch, the
most important part about being prepared for your divorce is understanding your finances
— so if you don’t have a lawyer you know what you’re talking about. But if you decide to hire a lawyer, you want
to be able to save some money. You don’t want to go to your lawyer’s office with a box of
receipts and credit card statements and bank statements and hand it all over to your lawyer
because you’re going to be paying someone a couple hundred dollars an hour to figure
out your assets for you. So this way if you follow along with what
I’m doing and then apply it to your own personal assets, when you go to your lawyer — if you
end up having a lawyer — you’re going to be really organized. And if you use the Divorganizer
— that we planner we have available for you — that’s going to make it even easier
because we lay the same thing out in the divorce planner called the Divorganizer, pretty much
the same as what I’m going to do with the spreadsheet. So let’s get started. OK, this is where it all comes together — we’re
going to do a spreadsheet now — and I’ve put some categories on this spreadsheet — this
is just a flip chart so you guys can see it — and we have Assets — such as a house
— and we have the value of that asset which is what it’s worth and sometimes we have debt
on our assets so that would be a mortgage or a car loan or something and we subtract
the debt from the value and that gives us the net value, and then we talked a little
bit earlier about um — separate property and maybe you or your husband have separate
property before you came into the marriage, so that’s all going to go on the spreadsheet
together. So let’s get started. Let’s say you have a
house — and let’s say your house is worth $300,000 and let’s say that you owe $200,000
– so that goes in as a negative — so the net value of your house is $100,000. And now you have a car, and let’s say it’s
an ’06 Honda — and that car is worth $16,000 — and perhaps you have a car loan and you
still owe $6000 on that loan. So the net value on your car is 16 minus 6, so you have a net
value on that car of $10,000. Now let’s say before you got married your
husband had a Mustang —
but that wasn’t paid for out of community money — and so that would be a separate
asset of your husband’s — so say’ it’s worth $12,000 — we’re going to put that over here
in the column of husband’s separate property. We still want it on our spreadsheet, even
though it’s separate property so we know all the assets you had as part of your marriage. And
maybe there’s a cabin — maybe your husband’s
family had a cabin and he owned that cabin before you were married. So I’ll put husband
for that — and you never paid any community money or any marital money went into that
cabin — in most states that’s probably going to be considered a separate asset of the husband
— so we’re going to put that over here under his Mustang and say it’s worth $150,000. Now, you have savings — and let’s say the
savings was entirely earned during your marriage — so we’re going to put that tight over
here and let’s say there’s $20,000 in savings. And now we talked a little bit on the other
video valuing intangible assets like a business — and let’s say for purposes of this discussion
that you own a landscaping business. So I’m going to put wife’s landscaping — and we
have to get that value and you don’t know the value of that right now. So that’s an
asset that has to be valued, and we’re going to say that’s a marital asset because that
business you had before — during the marriage so we have to fill those in, but it’s important
to know that for your spreadsheet, that there’s an asset that may need to be valued — that
we have to find the value for. And another type of asset that has to be valued
is a stock option. So let’s say your husband works for a company and he has stock options

that’s another marital asset that needs to be valued, and that will go over here in the
net marital column. Now perhaps you have a pension… I’m not
doing so good with my circles here… that’s another value that you have to assign a value
— you have what’s called a pension evaluation by a professional who knows how to do a pension
evaluation, so we can put that number onto the spreadsheet. You’re going to add up this
— this is going to be the net community — or net marital assets — but we also have
to take into consideration that maybe you have some credit card debt — so let’s say
you have a Visa and let’s say you owe on the VISA $15,000 — I’ll put that in the debt
column here — And let’s say you have a Mastercharge — MasterCard I think they call it — and
lets’ say you owe $10,000 on that — those are negatives. So now we’re going to add up
the net marital assets — if my math is right, it’s about $260,000 of marital assets. In
order to know your new community value — you got to subtract this $25,000 from this $260,000
— we take the $25,000 off the $260,000 — that’s a negative, that’s a minus — you have a
net community of $235,000 So we’ve done spreadsheet and lets just go
over it again — we took the asset, we took the value of the asset, we subtracted off
the debt, we got the net value that belongs to the marital community and we also had to
put in our separate property, because it’s important to list everything you have and
just to reiterate — there’s going to be some assets that you don’t know the value
of — like a business — maybe in the landscaping business it’s hugely successful and it’s a
big value or maybe you have just three clients and might have so much value, if any. We’re back to issue spotting — so if you
see, if there are stock options, then those have to be put on the spreadsheet with some
kind of value — and if there’s a pension, that’s an asset that –um — that doesn’t
necessarily have the same value that would show on the receipt or the statement you get.
So we’re issue spotting now — if you know there’s a pension — you know you have to
take a look at that and have to get a value — get a forensic accountant to do that. Now, some states treat separate and marital
property differently and some states will even consider debt to be separate if it’s
in somebody else’s name — and like I keep saying, I’m not qualified to practice law
in every state and I don’t know all the state laws in every single state — but for purposes
of issue spotting, I think that we’ve covered most of the issues that you need to cover
when you put together your spreadsheet. So now you’ve got to go and try to figure
out values of things — to get the value of a house you’re going to have to have an
appraisal — for car, there’s something called Kelley Blue Book values and lawyers use that
all the time to try and figure out the value of a car — retire — that’s going to come
off your retirement statements, like your 401(k) — this cabin — if it’s worth a
million dollars it might be something the court takes into consideration when dividing
up the property. Savings — you’re going to want a copy of
your bank statement — VISA and MasterCard, you’re just going to need copies of those
statements — generally in most states, those statements will be important form the time
of separation. So now you’ve got an idea of how it’s going
to look like — this is kind a crazy, sloppy looking flip chart I did but I think you get
the picture of what it is you have to have so you can put together a spreadsheet so you
can take charge and figure out exactly where you are, financially in your divorce. OK, it may not have been pretty and may not
have gotten everything exactly lined up right but I’m absolutely positive that you can do
this. I’m absolutely sure you can figure out the values of your assets. I know you can issue spot because we’ve talked
about that a lot — and I know you can get this all down on a piece of paper. So what
you need to do is get a cup of tea or a cup of coffee, clear off the kitchen table, get
our your box of all your receipts — helps to have a computer available because you might
have to figure out the value of some of these assets, like the Kelley Blue book or maybe
a Zillow value on your house just to get a ballpark idea of what things are worth. Take a piece of paper, you can do this — asset,
value, debt, net–which is your marital or community and the separate things that you
think you might have. It doesn’t have to be perfect and goodness knows it doesn’t have
to be pretty because this isn’t exactly pretty — but I know it’s going to work.

One Comment

  • michiko mendola

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