Sadly, marriages fail every day and when they do, divorce is almost inevitable. Many people involved in a divorce may worry that they will lose everything. This is especially true for those with significant assets. How those assets will be divided depends on the facts of the case.
Kinds of divorce in New Jersey
First, you should understand how divorce works in New Jersey. While there are many different contexts, most people move through one of four processes. These include:
- contested divorce
- uncontested divorce
- mediated divorce
A contested divorce must be decided in court by a Judge based on the laws of New Jersey. This is a form of divorce where either spouse could lose much control regarding the outcome. On the other hand, an uncontested divorce involves both spouses reaching an agreement on the terms of the divorce. Lastly, if there are disagreements, both spouses may seek mediation or arbitration to decide the divorce terms without going to court.
Protecting assets in a high-asset divorce case
However, with a high-asset divorce, the spouse with the most assets may have much more on the line. Protecting those assets is going to require some legal strategies such as:
- avoiding a contested divorce
- separating assets into marital and non-marital property
- using a prenuptial agreement
- creating a postnuptial agreement
- using a trust
One of the biggest mistakes married couples who divorce make during the marriage is co-mingling all of their property. This often results in losing control over who gets what assets during a contested divorce. Instead, the spouse with the most assets should attempt to separate marital and non-marital assets. Making clear the assets that were not acquired during the marriage will provide more protection.
If each spouse agrees, an uncontested divorce will allow the couple to avoid going to court and asking a judge to divide their assets. Lastly, placing important assets into a trust with specific beneficiaries could protect assets from divorce proceedings.
Overall, divorce may not go the way you planned. When it is a high-asset divorce, there is a lot at stake. Move through the process carefully and consider your options.