In New Jersey, assets acquired during the marriage are subject to “equitable distribution.” This doesn’t necessarily mean every marital asset is automatically divided 50-50. It depends on several factors listed in the applicable the New Jersey ED statute, for instance, one spouse might have a greater financial need for the asset.
It can be difficult to properly divide marital assets on your own because which assets are considered “marital” is largely determined by New Jersey law. Therefore, when dividing marital assets, we evaluate your particular assets using the law to maximize your receiving the value of assets to which you would be entitled.
The first step is to identify the value of assets “acquired during the marriage” according to New Jersey law. For instance, the end date of the marriage is generally determined by the date the divorce complaint is filed with the court.
You often save time and money in legal fees if we reach a divorce agreement before the divorce complaint is filed. This is because once the divorce complaint is filed, the court imposes many procedural obligations on the parties with stringent deadlines, including for example, filing an “answer” to the complaint and appearing in court for a “case management conference.”
By the same token, procedural obligations are often unrelated to productively resolving any of the issues, yet they cost you in legal fees.
The next step is to determine if the asset legally belongs to one spouse. This might include, for instance, inheritances that have been kept separate and not used for “marital” expenditures, or gifts (as opposed to loans from third parties.)
Once we’ve properly identified the pool of assets to be divided, the next step is to designate the value of each marital asset. This is not always cut and dry. For instance, valuing a business, pension plan, or commercial real estate often requires the assistance of an outside professional accountant, actuary, or real estate appraiser.
We intentionally select an expert that gives us the “the best bang for the buck” while enlisting the cooperation of your spouse’s lawyer. For example, selecting a forensic accountant skilled in mediation would be less costly and more effective than simply choosing one to prepare a report for court at a much higher cost and could lead to a “battle of the experts.”
Unlike many attorneys, I ensure that the outcome, in reality, works for your unique financial circumstances and the result is in line with what you ultimately want to achieve.
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