Dividing assets can be one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. Even if discussions about child custody and spousal support were fairly amicable, things can take a turn for the worse when it comes time to divide bank accounts, property and debts.
This is not uncommon, unfortunately. At this stage, people often feel scared about life after marriage and what kind of lifestyle they will have. This can make them act out or respond in ways they wouldn't normally. In order to avoid these behaviors, you should understand some important things about the property division process in New Jersey.
It's not an all-or-nothing system
In this state, we comply with equitable distribution laws. This means that each person will receive an equitable - or fair - share of the marital assets. In most cases, the division is approximately 50/50; however, if there are extenuating circumstances, one spouse can receive a larger portion of the assets. Generally speaking, both spouses should exit the marriage on roughly equal financial footing.
You have some control over the process
It can be frightening to think that a stranger will be the one dividing your assets. However, you can avoid this by avoiding litigation. If you and your soon-to-be ex can work toward a settlement outside of court, then you will have more say over the property you keep and the property you give up.
You are not expected to be a financial expert
You do not need to figure out how to divide your property yourself. An attorney can provide critical guidance in indexing property and categorizing property. Further, some assets, including business interests, investment accounts and collectibles, can be very difficult to unravel. Under these circumstances, you can work with a financial professional who can appraise and assign value to complex property.
You do not have to go through this alone
Most people going through the division of assets process are going through it for the first time. Do not feel like you should know everything or that you have to figure it all out on your own. You can work with and lean on an attorney experienced in this process and familiar with property division laws and procedures.