Property division is frequently one of the most (if not the most) contentious parts of any divorce. Even for spouses who are amicable with one another, deciding how to divide marital assets and liabilities can be challenging. Knowing what to expect from your property division case can help you make better decisions and set yourself up for success post-divorce.
At DeTommaso Law Group, LLC, we help clients find the best path forward in the property division process. Contact us online or via phone at (908) 274-3028 for help with your property division case.
Understanding Equitable Distribution
Unlike some states, which use community property laws (where spouses split marital property equally during property division), New Jersey operates under equitable distribution law.
An "equitable" distribution does not necessarily mean you'll split assets and liabilities 50/50 with your spouse. Rather, the court will try and arrange an equitable division of property that ensures both parties maintain a good quality of life during the divorce.
For example, if you share children with your soon-to-be-ex and end up getting sole custody, the court may award you the marital home to make caring for the children easier.
Work with your lawyer and devise what an "equitable" division of assets and liabilities would look like in your marriage. The sooner your act, the better you can prepare your case for the court.
Hire an Accountant Sooner Rather than Later
The outcome of your property division case can affect your finances for years or even decades post-divorce. One of the most significant financial changes you should expect are differences in your tax returns post-divorce.
Depending on you and your partner's income, you may find yourself in a different tax bracket post-divorce. Additionally, if you have children, whether or not you retain head of household status after dissolving your marriage can affect your taxes. Other decisions you make, like whether you keep the marital home post-divorce, can also affect your tax outlook.
A good attorney will help you understand how the property division arrangement you pursue affects your taxes, but an accountant can prepare you even further. Consulting one sooner rather than later can help you make the right financial decisions during your divorce.
Think About Why You Want what You Want
During property division, it's easy to get caught up in the emotional attachment you have to objects (and there's nothing wrong with that). But it's also important to remember that your living situation will probably change significantly post-divorce. If you're moving to a new city or into an apartment, will you really want to lug that half-destroyed leather couch along with you?
Being pragmatic about what you keep post-divorce will make transitioning into your new life easier. Taking the opportunity to invest in some new items can also help you get a fresh start and process the divorce more easily.
Don't Try to Hide Assets or Liabilities
As part of the property division process, you'll need to disclose all your separate and marital assets and liabilities to the court. Attempting to hide information during this process can result in legal penalties and a worse outcome in your case, so being honest is essential.
Prepare for Post-Divorce Expenses
You should always factor post-divorce expenses into your decisions throughout the property division process. Some of the common costs associated with divorce include:
- Finding a new living space;
- Getting a new vehicle;
- Repurchasing basic necessities;
- Purchasing new insurance/phone plans/etc.;
- Getting new items for your child (if you have one).
Try to figure out how much those expenses will cost you. Knowing what expenses to expect can help strengthen your arguments for why you should receive certain marital property.
At DeTommaso Law Group, LLC, we'll help you navigate the property division process and pursue an ideal outcome in your case.
Contact us online or via phone at (908) 274-3028 to schedule a consultation with our team.