For many people, there's nothing more agonizing about filing for divorce than wondering how marital property will be distributed between the parties. Taking the right steps before your property division case kicks off can help you achieve the results you want.
To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced property division attorneys for your case, contact us online or via phone at (908) 274-3028.
First Things First: Understanding Property Division in NJ
New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning that parties must distribute assets "equitable" in the event of a divorce, but not necessarily "equally."
The distinction is important. For example, let's say you and your spouse own a home together, but you pay for the majority of mortgage payments and renovations. The court may award you with a majority percentage of the home's value, meaning you'd get a greater percentage of the profits if you sold off the home during the divorce.
Taking stock of your assets and liabilities, and how much you and your spouse have contributed to them, can help you get a better understanding of how much of a certain asset or liability you are likely to receive. Your divorce attorney can help with this process.
Make Copies of Important Documents
Before doing anything else, you'll want to start making copies of important financial and ownership documents. This can include tax returns, the deed to your house, vehicle certificates, information for bank accounts, investments, and retirement accounts, and anything else you and your attorney decide is marital property (generally defined as any property acquired or shared by the parties post-marriage).
Having these copies will help you in a variety of ways moving forward. They can help appraisers determine the worth of certain assets, or enable forensic accountants to get more information about hidden assets (which we'll get into momentarily). You'll also need to provide the court with a complete inventory of your separate and personal property, so having these documents on hand will help you complete that objective. Getting all this information together at the outset of your divorce can also relieve stress as you continue with the property division process.
Evaluate the Worth of Your Assets & Liabilities
You'll want to know how much your separate and marital assets and liabilities are worth before continuing. Defining the value of marital property is essential if you want to obtain a truly fair outcome in your case.
For some assets and liabilities, you may be able to identify the value yourself. However, for more valuable or rare items, hiring a property appraiser can help save you time and get an accurate assessment of the current market value of various assets and liabilities.
Consider Bringing on Other Expert Witnesses
If you've gathered a complete inventory of your separate and marital property and valued it all, you've got the bulk of your work done. The last step you should consider involves bringing on other expert witnesses.
For example, a certified public accountant (CPA) can help you get a better idea of how your divorce will impact your taxes, helping you negotiate a better outcome in your property division dispute. If you're worried your spouse may be hiding property, a forensic accountant could help put those worries to rest or prove such allegations to the court.
Work with your attorney to determine how you should proceed with your property division case. Our team can help you get the best outcome in your divorce - contact us online or via phone at (908) 274-3028 to schedule a consultation with our team.