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Asset Protection During NJ Divorce

When a New Jersey couple gets divorced, one of the main concerns that each side has evolved around the marital assets. When there are such things as a business, property, stocks, bonds, investments, retirement accounts, bank accounts and items that may be of value, both sides will want their fair share of the property and assets. New Jersey is considered to be an equitable distribution state which means that in a divorce, marital property is to be divided in an equitable fashion. Note that the term “equitable” is different from “equal”, in that equitable means fair and/or just; this means that in a divorce proceeding, the court will encourage each spouse to reach a settlement on the property that is fair, which may or may not be necessarily equally divided between the two.

Without a prenuptial agreement, each of the spouses will lay claim to what they believe they are entitled to. For example, if there is a business that one of the spouses built and ran—but the other spouse had no direct involvement in its growth—the spouse who built it will likely claim it is all his or hers. That may not be how the court system views it. It could be argued that the spouse who did not take part in the business directly might have had a hand in the building the business by taking care of the home and children and leaving the business-building spouse the time and freedom to grow the business. By that logic, the homemaking spouse will be entitled to a portion of the business's value. Unless the business-building spouse took steps to protect the asset or built the majority of it prior to the marriage, the asset will be fair game in the divorce.

Steps To Protecting Assets In A Divorce

money with key

When a couple is divorcing, it is wise for each side to come to a logical determination of what they have and what it is worth. The smart decision for the spouses is to examine their credit scores with a credit report. A credit report will inform the individuals of their purchases and if there was a purchase on a joint credit card that one of the spouses was unaware of, it will be listed. Knowing the credit score is the first step toward financial independence after the divorce is finalized and the protecting of one's assets.

Knowing the assets and liabilities of the couple and the individual spouses is a protective measure. This can be accomplished by tallying up what you have and what you owe. It may sound simple, but many people are unaware of exactly what they have in the bank, what they have in stocks and funds, what they owe to creditors for car payments and house payments, and what they owe on individual and joint credit cards. Having this information prior to the divorce can be a great help.

Understanding tax implications for retirement funds and the transferring of them and what could happen if some of the options—selling, keeping, exchanging—are attempted in the divorce is key. If it costs a significant amount of money to convert a retirement fund into liquid cash, then it might not be a smart thing to do. A 401k , an IRA and other retirement accounts will have different rules for withdrawal, cashing in, and rolling over. Not knowing them can have serious monetary consequences inclusive of tax implications in the future.

Once the decision has been made to divorce, an individual bank account should be opened. No matter whether the divorce is amicable or contentious, it is better to begin to separate the income as soon as possible to prevent any temptation or misunderstandings.

Consider the terms the other spouse wants in the divorce agreement. If there are children, the alimony, child support and housing allowances come into play. Knowing how much one can afford in comparison to what the other side wants is a method to protect assets from needing to be sold to provide cash to pay for the costs that come in the aftermath of the divorce.

Contact A Qualified Asset Protection Lawyer In New Jersey

Protecting your assets does not have to be viewed as hiding money from your spouse. It is simply an effort to watch over what you have and keep control over what can be part of the divorce settlement. Any asset can come into play, so knowing what you have and what it is worth can benefit you greatly in a divorce. If you or a loved one are getting divorced in Monmouth County, Ocean County or any other area of New Jersey and have concerns about protecting your assets, the attorneys at the Law Firm of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey can help you.

Whether you are from Rumson, Colts Neck, Manasquan or any other town in New Jersey, the attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. are here to answer your questions about divorce and asset protection. Call 732-751-4991 today to discuss Asset Protection in New Jersey.

Vincent DeLuca, Esq.

As a founding partner at Villani & DeLuca, Vincent DeLuca is one of only a few Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey. Mr. DeLuca has helped many clients navigate the delicate details of their own divorce. Mr. DeLuca is also a trained divorce mediator and collaborative divorce attorney. Call today at (732) 751-4991 to speak to Mr. DeLuca or one of our experienced NJ Divorce Lawyers.