The decision to divorce inevitably brings a host of challenges and difficult emotions, but it is crucial for estranged New Jersey couples to take deliberate steps to ensure their individual financial security going forward.
By heeding some key advice about how to effectively and fairly divide financial assets and liabilities during the process of dissolution, it is possible to reach a resolution that is equitable to both parties and provides a solid foundation for a new beginning.
Assessing the financial landscape
One of the first crucial tasks divorcing couples must undertake is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of all assets likely to be subject to negotiation during the dissolution process. A determination will need to be made as to which assets were acquired during the marriage and by whom and whether there are any others that belonged solely to one of the spouses prior to the union or were obtained via inheritance in one name only.
This step is vital in that it may help narrow the field of negotiation over how assets should be split, because those that are not considered marital property can typically be excluded from the final property division agreement.
Dividing assets and liabilities
Once the aforementioned preliminary review has been completed, it will be time to discuss the actual manner in which asset and debt categories commonly held by married couples will be split. These typically include:
- Marital home and other real estate
- Jointly-held bank accounts
- Employer-linked retirement accounts
- Credit card accounts
- Other debt obligations
Every soon-to-be-divorced couple comes to the table with a unique set of circumstances, individual earning capacities and personal priorities, and it is therefore necessary to tailor an agreement that is responsive to those factors. Whether that requires a reshuffling of debt payments, the opening of separate new accounts, the sale of real estate or some other means of reaching an equitable division, it is essential that the full tax and other financial ramifications of all decisions be explored before a final deal is reached.