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A checklist of assets that might come up in a divorce case

There are many Ontarians who go into a divorce knowing that there will be a myriad of issues to address, but who are still surprised at how complex these cases can become. Sure, one knows more about their family, spouse and personal finances than anyone else, but once they become involved in the family law process, they will be exposed to other people -- judges and attorneys, for starters -- who oftentimes have decades of experience with divorce cases and the associated issues. During the divorce process, one area in which many people are somewhat surprised is when they learn the full extent of their assets and debts.

It can help to have a checklist of assets considering what all needs to be split during the property division process. For example, one category would be real estate. Sure, families probably own a family home, but is there other real estate as well; a vacation home or rental property, perhaps?

Then, there is the extensive category of personal property. Both spouses probably have an idea of what is "yours" and "mine," but some personal property, like antiques, collectibles, cars and boats, can have significant value. A dispute may arise when it is time to split items that fall within this category.

But, perhaps, the biggest area of concern is financial assets. These assets, such as bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts and pensions, can hold the bulk of a divorcing couples' wealth. Taking the time to go through a checklist of assets can be helpful as a divorce case is getting started.

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