|In the property settlement, the parties are required to list, in detail, all properties they own as well as all of their liabilities. It is extremely important that both parties exercise full disclosure of assets.
I’ve made some suggestions below to assist my clients in developing a thorough inventory. Clients are requested to compile their asset/ liability lists prior to the mediation sessions.
Items on this list are then categorized as either “community” or “separate.” Generally Community assets are those assets that were acquired during the marriage. Separate assets refers to those assets owned before the marriage, or acquired after separation. Assets acquired during the marriage, by gift (from a third party) or from inheritance, are an exception and are deemed separate assets.
“Community liabilities” refer to all debts incurred during the marriage, regardless of whose name appears on the debt documents.
||“Separate liabilities” refers to those debts incurred before the marriage or after separation.
Part of the mediation agenda will be to assist the parties to determine a value of their listed assets and liabilities. The value of the assets and liabilities, the fair market value, fluctuates depending on the volatility of the market. Parties can agree on the values of items themselves. If they disagree on a valuation, I would suggest, as a way of saving money, that they agree on a common person to make valuations. All of the assets need to be valued as of the same date. This valuation date can be agreed upon by the parties. Most often the valuation date is the day of their separation or their trial date. Parties should come to the mediation with support data, such as tax or bank statements, blue book values, etc.
Again I would like to stress, it is extremely important that both parties exercise full disclosure of assets.