An asset is something of value owned by an individual or organization. An asset can be physical property like a building or intangible property such as a patent. Assets are an important part of and differ in many areas of law.
In family law, specifically in the context of divorce, marital assets are economic resources attained during the marriage; that is from the date of the marriage ceremony to the date of actual or constructive separation. Marital assets will then be weighed against marital debt in the division of property and the award of spousal support. In the context of child support, the non-custodial parent's assets are calculated in measuring the amount of child support to be paid.
In finance, partnership and corporate law, assets play a key role in the financing and valuation of the organization. A corporation reports all of its physical, intangible, and liquid assets in its balance sheet. The valuation of all an organization’s assets determines the amount of debt it can receive, determines the interest rates of debt, affects tax obligations, and often alters the market value of the corporation.
[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]