Marital Balance Sheet Preparation
Under Nevada law, all property acquired during the marriage that is not inheritance, gift, or personal injury settlement, is community property. The law requires the court to split community property evenly between the parties. Split equally does not mean each asset must be split down the middle. Rather, the court or the parties can view all the assets as a pot and then assign specific assets to respective parties so that the entire pot is split equally as opposed to each individual asset.
There are some nuances and exceptions to the general rule that a court must divide community assets equally, which Family Law Solutions can help you with.
One underrated aspect of reaching a reasonable property division is creating a detailed, accurate Community Property Chart (“CPC”), also frequently known as a Marital Balance Sheet (“MBS”).
A detailed chart has many benefits that include:
- It is easier to divide assets if you know what is there – This may seem obvious, but parties and attorneys do not always have the best track record of knowing what they have, what is community property, and how to divide it. Many just guess to the best of their ability and divide “fairly” as determined by the parties or their attorneys. This may work sometimes, but it is not always accurate.
- It is easier to come up with different settlement offers – With a detailed spreadsheet, it is easy to move items around to evaluate assets and reach a fair and equitable property division. This can help the parties visualize their assets in a more reasonable manner and allow for brainstorming of different equitable solutions.
- It is easier to see what documents each party needs to provide – The chart shows not only the value, but where that value comes from. If the source is a Financial Disclosure Form and not a statement or appraisal, that can be problematic, and the chart makes it easy to see that these documents are necessary. Similarly, if the most recent statement is six months old, this is easily viewable on the chart and can spur the parties to obtain updated statements to keep the values fresh. The community remains in place during divorce proceedings thus it is critical to receive updated statements, especially when cases span long periods of time.
- It is easier to separate out separate property – Not all property is community property, and not all property is strictly community property or strictly separate property. A community property chart is a good way to indicate the portion of different assets and debts that have a separate property component, and ensure that the separate property is not incorrectly calculated as community property, or vice versa.
- It is easier to see the different types of assets – Not all assets are created equally. It is important to consider the liquidity, income producing ability, and tax ramifications of various assets. The CPC/MBS is a tool to help visualize these issues.
- It is easier for the parties to talk intelligently about the case – Many assets can be referred to in a variety of ways which can make reaching a settlement complicated. If the two parties agree to use the same CPC/MBS structure, even if they have different opinions of the values of some of the entries, it will be much easier to discuss global settlement and be on the same page. It also makes trial preparation much easier if trial is necessary. Both parties getting on the same page is hugely beneficial and can save time and money.
- It is easier to prepare for trial and conduct a trial – A CPC/MBS is like a roadmap for parties/attorneys at trial. It is a primary exhibit used to show a party’s desired outcome of the case, aids the judge in seeing that party’s perspective, and can be used as a table of contents for the exhibits supporting the numbers contained therein. If you cannot properly lay out what you want the judge to do, the judge will have a hard time doing it. The CPC/MBS serves as an illustrative Exhibit at trial which is much easier for a judge to digest than stacks and stacks of documents.
Community Property Chart Marital Balance Sheet Preparation – Hourly
The Family Law Solutions CPC is easy to read and uses sufficient references to allow for easier trial preparation. Any offer can be evaluated using a CPC, and determining a fair offer is made much easier with one.
This service can be used either for one party, or as a joint service to allow both sides to be on an even playing field; and to allow both parties to use the same terminology and values for various accounts.
Family Law Solutions can create initial charts, charts based on specific offers from the other party, or charts detailing an offer you want to make yourself.