A lot of American women still tend to rely on their husbands to handle the family finances -- which can put women at a disadvantage if the marriage crumbles.
While spouses are supposed to disclose all their assets during the divorce proceedings so that there can be a fair division of the marital property, there are always a few spouses who are going to play loose and free with the rules. With that in mind, every divorcing woman (and man) should start thinking critically in order to identify potential forgotten assets in the marital pot, including:
- Bank accounts, including accounts that were opened and maintained online
- Real estate, including vacation property, timeshares and undeveloped land
- Cars and other vehicles, including those used for recreation only
- Life insurance policies, especially whole life and universal life plans that accrue value with time
- Retirement plans, including 401(k) plans and others that are vested with a long-term employer or the military
- Stocks held in any company, including restricted stock, online brokerage accounts and any deferred compensation a spouse may be due
- Art collections, antiques (whether individual pieces or an entire collection), coin collections, stamp collections, wine collections, rare books and other valuable items that a spouse may have acquired during the course of a marriage
- Cemetery plots and burial or funeral agreements, including pre-paid plans
- Club memberships, including golf and country clubs
- Intellectual property, including royalty rights, copyrights, patent and trademarks
- Unpaid loans -- especially if there is a substantial likelihood that they'll eventually be repaid
- Travel reward points and frequent flyer miles (which can add up to considerable amounts of money)
Some of these items are relatively easy to remember -- but many may require you to dig around the financial documents to uncover. Look through online accounts, insurance documents and tax records for clues about property that needs to be addressed during your divorce.