Questions About Dividing Assets
If you are going through the divorce process, you probably have questions about dividing assets. What assets are subject to distribution? What happens to my premarital assets? What about the house? Set up a free consultation with our New Jersey divorce lawyers so that we may answer all your questions and help you begin the next chapter of your life.
Questions About Dividing Assets | What Assets are Subject to Distribution?
In general, debts and assets accumulated from the day of your marriage until the day one of the parties filed for divorce are subject to equitable distribution. This might include income, savings accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, a house, other properties, a business, even gambling winnings. People often think – wrongly – that any account opened in one party’s name belongs to that party alone. In fact, if that account accumulated value between the date of the couple’s marriage and the date one party filed a complaint, it is still subject to equitable distribution. Even book royalties and one partner’s frequent flier miles are subject to distribution.
Questions About Dividing Assets | What Happens to Premarital Assets?
What constitutes a “premarital” asset can sometimes be difficult to determine, unless a spouse took measures to keep an asset strictly separate over the course of a marriage. If you have a bank account before a marriage and add your spouse onto that account, it will be difficult to figure out what part of that account is “premarital” and what part is “marital.” If you have a 401(k), get married, and decide to dissolve that marriage after 20 years, you must have a statement from before the marriage to demonstrate what was in that account – and you may need to hire a forensic accountant to calculate that money’s growth during the marriage, and an equitable division of its current value.
Questions About Dividing Assets | What Happens to Our House?
What happens to your home depends mostly upon you and your spouse. In some cases, spouses decide immediately that they want to put a home on the market and split or escrow the selling price – each is sure that he or she doesn’t want to or can’t afford to maintain the property.
Children are an important factor. If one child is entering his or her senior year of high school, for example, one parent may want to keep the home for that year to provide some stability or stay within a certain school district.
Proximity is also an issue. One spouse may want to keep the marital home because of its nearness to a workplace. In some cases, a spouse wants to keep an inherited home.
In the case of domestic violence, the court will issue a restraining order separating the parties immediately. However, in some cases, parties live under the same roof until the day the divorce is finalized. Ultimately, the determinant will be financial. If neither party can afford to keep the home, or can’t manage to get a mortgage refinanced, you must sell the property.
If you have any other questions about dividing assets, please contact our experienced New Jersey divorce lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.