When you and your spouse prepare to divide up marital property as part of your divorce, you need to begin by compiling a list of all of your property and assets, as well as all the debts you both owe together and separately. That list is called an inventory affidavit. This list will be used in the equitable distribution phase of your divorce.
An inventory affidavit is a form or a spreadsheet with all the information about your property and debts. The affidavit will list of all the assets and debts, with a value as of the date of separation, and any changes in value since the date of separation. The values you place on assets will be the amount a third-party would be willing to pay today for the item. It doesn’t matter how much the item originally cost, or how much it would cost you to replace it. Debts should be listed with the value as of the most recent statement date.
Each item will need to be marked a marital item or a separate item. Marital items are those you purchased with marital funds, while separate items are those you brought to the marriage or inherited (for example). Some items may be listed as both; this may include a piece of property you owned prior to the marriage but where marital funds were used to construct a house.
Next to each item, indicate whether you keep the item or your spouse keeps the item. Your goal is to evenly (or equitably) divide all the assets and debts. If the total value of what you are keeping is bigger than the total value of what your ex is keeping, you need to pay your ex half the difference to get to a 50/50 distribution. If his total is bigger, he needs to pay you half the difference.
Some assets may be harder to value than others. Retirement accounts, for example, often fluctuate in value daily. In addition, there are penalties assessed if a retirement account is closed out early. Those penalties will cause the value to decline. Not everyone keeps detailed financial records, so if there are questions about how items should be distributed, it can be helpful to speak with a divorce attorney.