Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

New Jersey Family Law Blog

Dividing the spoils after a divorce

New Jersey is one of the most expensive U.S. states to live in. It comes as no surprise then when couples fight over the assets they have acquired together during a marriage. According to CNBC, millennials are not only marrying later, but showing a greater propensity toward maintaining separate assets. About 28% of married millennials do not have a joint bank account. This more than doubles how many Gen Xers and Baby Boomers keep their bank accounts separate after marriage.

One proposed reason for this is that millennials have witnessed difficulties with separating assets during a divorce. Even so, professionals warn that owning property separately may not protect some assets from being counted as jointly owned during a divorce. This may happen when couples live in a community property state, which does not include New Jersey. Even so, one spouse may move to one of these states, such as California or Nevada, and then file for divorce there. Those courts may then hold jurisdiction over the divorce and therefore the marriage assets.

Negotiating divorce matters may result in less conflict

Deciding to end a marriage can understandably be challenging. However, actually going through the process itself can be even more difficult, especially if you approach your divorce as a battle you must win.

The truth is that your divorce proceedings here in New Jersey do not have to be hostile and combative. Instead, you and your future ex-spouse can use the negotiation process to try to resolve your differences in areas like property division, spousal maintenance and more.

Discernment counseling may offer unique benefits

One of the most common things individuals may hear when they start considering a divorce is a plea to try marriage counseling first. This request may come from a spouse who wishes to stay married or a well-meaning friend or family member. With all the emotions and stress that may occur near the potential end of a marriage, it may be difficult for a person or a couple to determine whether they should try counseling. A relatively new option, discernment counseling, may help couples determine whether it is best to try to fix the marriage or pursue a divorce.

Although marriage counseling may help couples work through issues and improve their communication, it does not always fix relationships. As Psychology Today points out, marriage counseling may lead to negative consequences in some situations. This is especially common when counseling begins after one person has decided he or she wants the marriage to end. At that point, marriage counseling may provoke more negative emotions and reactions, because it becomes clear that the spouses do not have an equal desire to remain married.

Mediation may save couples thousands of dollars

According to Forbes, January is the season for divorce. People speculate that unhappily married couples may want to prevent souring the holidays with divorce proceedings. Others wonder whether or not a bad encounter with family members over the holidays may have been the final nail in the coffin. Whatever the reason or season, couples can expect to spend thousands of dollars on divorce.

One of the best ways to reduce divorce fees is to consider mediation. Mediated divorces almost always cost a fraction of what it costs to battle it out in court. In these instances, one appointed neutral party serves as the mediator between two soon-to-be ex-spouses to help them resolve any outstanding issues amicably. Forbes notes that this may end up costing couples a few hundred dollars versus tens of thousands in court.

Are you headed for divorce?

Couples in New Jersey may be able to predict if divorce is potentially in the future if they pay attention to certain signs. Spouses who can identify warning signs and make the necessary changes have a much better chance of making things work than couples who ignore what is going on.

According to Reader's Digest, communication is always important to keep a marriage strong, and one warning sign is when couples stop truly talking and listening to each other. While infidelity is a sign there are problems in a marriage, if one spouse has multiple affairs it is much harder to fix and recover from. A general lack of intimacy is also a bad sign. Another signal is when a couple starts spending more time apart. While having independent interests is healthy, it becomes a problem if spouses chooses to spend time apart to avoid discussing difficult topics. 

Is my spouse having an online affair?

Marital infidelity is hardly a new occurrence. However, many people conduct affairs completely online now, via social media sites or by chatting with potential paramours on websites. If you suspect your partner is having an online affair, Live About recommends looking for the following signs. 

Secrecy surrounding digital accounts

Toxic personalities can spark co-parenting challenges

There are many reasons people in New Jersey and elsewhere get divorced. When you filed a petition, you may have done so after a crisis event in your marriage or perhaps after a long period of issues building up between you and your spouse that you determined you were not able to resolve. Either way, while you are severing the ties of your personal relationship, you understood from the start that you'll always have a connection with your ex as co-parents.

The fact that your partner in parenting has a toxic personality may have you more than a bit concerned. It's understandable, as many people in similar situations have wound up in contentious courtroom battles when the co-parents with toxic personalities have caused child custody problems or have tried to impede the child/parent relationships of the other parents involved. To avoid such problems, it's critical to understand how to protect and exercise your rights, especially if your ex refuses to adhere to a court order.

Keeping the house may not be the best choice

If you are considering divorce in New Jersey, you may be preparing for huge changes. Creating a parenting plan and deciding who gets the television, custom bedroom set and investment accounts. Even if the proceedings are generally amicable, it is still a stressful time. Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C., works with clients to ensure equitable property division for the best possible outcome.

The family home is frequently the most significant asset owned. According to Emma Johnson, several factors can help you decide if you should fight for the house or let it go.

  • One of the most important considerations is whether you can afford it. With a lower household income comes a lifestyle change. If you cannot pay for the mortgage, utilities and upkeep on top of the other expenses, it may not be worth the financial stress.
  • Houses often represent the family position and lifestyle you always wanted. Staying in the home can stop you from moving forward with your new life. A new house and furnishing can help you start a new life, putting the old one behind you.
  • Starting fresh and relying on yourself can be empowering. Whether you rent or buy, the decisions are yours. By making decisions based on finances, your choices are practical rather than emotional. As a result, not only do you maintain a stronger financial position, but you also teach your children how to be money wise.

Why is the valuation date in your divorce important?

With all of the different elements of your divorce case in Jersey City that you have to worry about, you may think that knowing what day your marital assets will officially be valued may not be one of them. Yet when dealing with property division, you will want to know all the you can to ensure that you are not taken advantage of. A valuation date may seem like a mundane detail if you do not also consider the potential for appreciation (or depreciation) that your marital assets present. 

For example, say that you own a vacation home with your ex-spouse, and after your initial separation, they move into it. Knowing that it will likely be sold during your divorce proceedings (and its proceeds split between you), your ex-spouse could conceivably neglect the property in hopes of lowering its value so that you end up with less. Yes, their stake in the property would be lowered as well, yet if their priority is punishing you over all else, they may be willing to accept such a loss. 

Moving to another state after your divorce

For many people, the end of their marriage symbolizes a fresh start and a time full of opportunity. The divorce process can be tough, not only from a financial angle but emotionally as well. However, many people are able to move beyond these hurdles and some are able to pursue new opportunities and change their lives for the better. For example, splitting up with a spouse may make it easier for someone to move to another state, which could offer a better quality of life as well as a more favorable job market and business opportunities. However, it is important to make sure that all bases are covered, especially if you have kids.

Whether someone does not like the weather in a state they have felt stuck in for years, or they were unable to move because their former spouse refused to leave, when a marriage comes to an end this can be a great time to relocate. Some people are simply looking for a new place to live and the sense that their past has been left behind.

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