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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.

When it comes to divorce stress, let Goldilocks be your guide

Some people seem to thrive in stressful situations. Most people in Texas, though, probably would agree that they'd be much happier and healthier with no stress at all. While there is clear evidence that too much stress can create physical and mental health problems, there's also research suggesting that too little can be bad, as well.

Just as the children's tale about Goldilocks and the three bears describes, it's important to achieve a balance. Too much stress leaves you frazzled. Too little stress may leave you apathetic. What you need is an amount of stress that is just right. In the context of divorce and specifically division of complex assets, how is that achieved?

Many experts agree that it may be most important for divorcing couples to get well organized. Think about it. During marriage, the parties tend to commingle their property. Assets such as homes, vacation places, furniture and such are acquired together, making the question of ownership blurry. The accumulation of goods can be so extensive that smaller items can get lost in the shuffle. As any good organizational consultant would surely say, a checklist can help you take stock.

For example, to generate a thorough inventory of real property it is important to know the different kinds. There is the family home, of course. Very likely, there is at least one vacation property. Jointly owned business property needs to be accounted for and divided, but so does any rental property and undeveloped land, too.

The list of smaller personal property items could be extensive. Is there a shared stamp or art collection? What about recreational vehicles? Everything must be tallied and valued for equitable division to occur.

On the other side of the community property ledger and providing another possible source of stresses are a couple's liabilities. They, too, are shared and must be divided equitably.

Finding the best middle ground between too much and too little clearly can be challenging. Getting to a point that feels just right is more likely to be achieved with an experienced attorney's help.

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