A divorce may be challenging and tumultuous. It may be more difficult if spouses in New Jersey are influenced by long-standing myths about this process. These falsehoods can have financial consequences.
First, adultery has no impact on property division or spousal support. New Jersey and other states allow no-fault divorce where spouses do not have to prove that the other party committed something wrong to cause the end of a marriage. The divorce process does not inflict punishment, but instead seeks to find an equitable and reasonable means to divide a couple’s assets.
There is one exception, however. A spouse who spent a large amount of money to engage in an extra-marital affair on items such as trips or an extra apartment may have more financial liability under the divorce decree.
Another misperception is that alimony payments last for life if the recipient spouse never worked during the marriage. Usually, non-working spouses may receive spousal support for a limited time so they can gain employment or pay for education.
Next, keeping funds in one spouse’s own bank account does not necessarily eliminate that money from property division. The other spouse may have rights to some of this money depending how it was earned and whether it was inherited. In an equitable distribution state like New Jersey, a judge may rule that the other spouse is entitled to a portion of those funds.
Finally, spouses are not absolutely exempt from debt incurred by their spouse on a credit. card. A spouse may be responsible for their ex-spouse’s credit card debt if it paid for essential family expenses like their children’s health care or home repairs or maintenance.
An attorney can help spouses address divorce legal issues based upon sound legal analysis. A lawyer can also help ensure that spouses seek reasonable options under the law.
Source: WiseBread, “4 myths about divorce and money, debunked,” Dan Rafter, July 11, 2017