It’s not unusual that the division of marital assets can be the most time-consuming and expensive part of a divorce, particularly when there are multiple properties, extensive investment portfolios, or a thriving family business. Here are some of the considerations involved.
Equitable Distribution Does Not Mean Equal Distribution
In New Jersey, as in other equitable distribution states, the court may strive to divide assets equally, but is not required to do so. In actuality, the court can rely on a wide range of factors to determine what will be a “fair” distribution of property. For example, if there are minor children and the court considers it in their best interest to remain in the marital home, the judge can order that the parent residing in that home be given the property. However, if there are assets that one or the other party owned before the marriage, the general practice is to return that property to the original owner.
If the parties have a valid prenuptial, it can lay out exactly how property is to be distributed. Nonetheless, the court can evaluate the pre-nuptial and can invalidate it if it finds evidence of misrepresentation, fraud, duress or undue influence.
Regarding retirement assets, as a general rule, courts prefer not to go through the complicated process of dividing an investment portfolio or retirement plan and instead they often look to the parties for help. With an IRA or 401k, you can easily transfer an appropriate value, but it’s a good idea to retain experts to evaluate both current and projected fair market value.
Finally, before you divide assets, you want to make certain there are no unfair or burdensome tax consequences of taking distribution.
Contact the New Jersey Contested Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, PC
At Lyons & Associates, PC, we represent men and women throughout New Jersey who have unresolved family law matters, including complex financial issues. We place a premium on personalized service and attention. For a private consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-575-9777.