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Marlton Family Law Blog

Consider all your assets in the property division process

Most people have more assets than they realize. This is especially true for married couples. Throughout the course of a marriage, couples will accumulate real estate, vehicles, retirement accounts and valuable personal property, just to name a few examples. When a marriage turns toward a divorce, couples in New Jersey must consider all of their assets in the property division process of the case.

In some cases, it can be helpful for couples to go through a checklist of potential assets they might own. They can do this separately, or they can do this together if they are amicable enough. Assets such as real estate are often identified readily enough -- the family home, a vacation cabin or rental properties, for example. But, some assets, like valuable personal property, may not be in the forefront of a person's mind as the divorce proceeds. Do you own valuable artwork or antiques? What about collectibles, jewelry or even valuable firearms? Married couples often do not realize how much value they have in these types of assets.

Should you settle your divorce case quickly to save money?

Divorcing couples in New Jersey often have a wide variety of questions about how the dissolution process will work. Each divorce case is different, but many will involve common issues: child custody and support, alimony and property division. For some couples in a high asset divorce, property division and alimony might be the most important issues of all. But, just because a divorce involves a significant amount of assets, does that mean that the sides should push for a quick resolution of the case to save money?

As a recent article noted, as 2018 comes to a close, for some couples the answer to this question is a resounding "yes." Why? Well, when it comes to new tax laws enacted in 2017 and alimony, it could mean that those who pay alimony case could see a substantial tax impact if the case isn't resolved before the end of the year.

What do you need to know about divorce mediation?

There are probably quite a few New Jersey residents who make the decision to get a divorce without fully assessing the options for getting through the process. For some, there is a preconceived notion that the divorce case must play out in a courtroom, with arguments made in front of a family law judge. However, for many couples, there is another option: divorce mediation.

So, what do our readers need to know about divorce mediation? Well, for starters, it is important to realize that mediation is just one option to pursue in a divorce. Many couples who are going through a divorce are not fully at-odds with their soon-to-be ex-spouse -- they simply believe they will be better off outside the confines of a troublesome marriage. These types of couples can negotiate and work together toward a divorce resolution in which all sides get to give their input.

What will become of the business you own during divorce?

Divorce not only brings changes to your personal life, but also to your working life, especially if you and your spouse are in business together. Your company is a major asset, important to both of you. What happens to it during the property division phase of your divorce proceeding? Here are three options to think about.

1. Sell to your spouse

Know the options in a high asset divorce

No two divorce cases in New Jersey are the same. Some are amicable, in which the couple can agree on most of the terms of the divorce out-of-court and submit an agreement to the court for approval. Others are contentious, seeing the couple fight over every detail of the dissolution proceeding, from child custody and support to alimony and property division. However, oftentimes the biggest difference between any two cases is the amount of assets involved.

High asset divorce cases can be, understandably, fraught with tension. From the beginning of the case, each spouse will likely be attempting to maneuver to a position in which the greatest amount of assets can be retained. Couples who find themselves in a high asset divorce need to know their options.

Seeing signs that your marriage might be headed for divorce?

No one in New Jersey gets married thinking that it is possible that the union will end in divorce. However, we all know that this is a possibility in many marriages. Sometimes, the realization that the relationship is headed for a divorce happens quickly. In other situations, it may take years or even decades for the couple to make the decision to call it quits. What signs might a couple look for to determine whether or not their marriage is headed for divorce?

A recent article listed several signs our readers can look for in their relationship. For starters, the article suggested that you think about how much you are arguing with your spouse. Is it happening more frequently? More than ever before? If you are, and the arguments are not getting resolved in any meaningful way, the marriage could be in serious trouble.

How common is divorce in America?

For decades now many people have said that it is common knowledge that the divorce rate in America is about 50 percent, meaning that half of all marriages end in divorce. But, is that really the case? How common is divorce in America?

A recent article took a look at the divorce rate and found that it may be more complicated to calculate than many people have traditionally thought. Why? Well, the statistics that are actually available regarding divorce in America is how many divorces are filed and finalized in any given year. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps track of statistics on divorce - as strange as that might sound - and has found that in one recent year, 2016, there were 3.2 divorces per 1,000 people in America that year.

The basics about alimony in a divorce

Many divorces in New Jersey will include a claim by one spouse or the other for alimony, also known as "spousal support." However, many people do not know the basics about alimony and how it might be ordered as part of a divorce decree.

For starters, any claim for alimony must be supported by verifiable evidence that such payments are actually needed. The reason alimony would be ordered is due to an economic disadvantage that one spouse might suffer over the other due to the end of the marriage. For instance, spouses asking for alimony might need to explain how their financial situation will be negatively affected by the divorce. Will they need to get a new job? Do they need to learn new skills to get a new job? Does a prenuptial agreement limit the assets that the spouse will have once the divorce is final? These, among other factors, might all be considerations in the court's decision about whether to award alimony.

What can you do to prepare to talk about property division?

As previous posts here have mentioned, there are quite a number of potential issues to prepare to address in a divorce case. But, for many people, besides the issues that deal with their children, the main concern is property division. So, what can you do to be prepared to talk about property division options in your divorce case?

Well, for starters, you'll need to make sure that you have copies of all of the appropriate documents that might be needed in the property division process. For example, you will need copies of: your tax returns for the last few years; paycheck stubs; copies of your spouse's paycheck stubs; deposit and withdraw statements from your bank; relevant information about pensions and retirement accounts; mortgage documents; investment information; life, automobile, health and home insurance policies; estate planning documents; a draft monthly budget for your household; and a copy of your prenuptial agreement, if applicable. Of course, given any particular case, there may be more documents that will become important in the property division process.

How do I escape an abusive marriage?

If you have attempted to leave an abusive relationship before, you are aware of the threatening, controlling and intimidating tactics your spouse uses to keep you under his or her control. Like many New Jersey residents in the same situation, you may have given up hope of ever being free from physical or emotional abuse.

Leaving an abusive spouse can be difficult, but you should understand that it is possible with careful planning and a team of allies that you can trust. The National Domestic Violence Hotline recommends abuse victims take the following steps as part of their escape plan:

  • Notify a trusted family member or friend of the abuse and ask for help.
  • Learn the addresses, phone numbers and websites of nearby domestic violence shelters and police stations.
  • Start discreetly storing important documents, belongings and keepsakes in a safe location out of the house.
  • If possible, begin setting aside emergency cash in a place your abuser doesn’t know about.
  • Save evidence of the abuse, such as screenshots of threatening text messages and photographs of injuries.
  • Acquire job skills, education or employment training if you are able.

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