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Cherry Hill Family Legal Blog

Important to understand financial implications of later divorce

Marriages are entered into with a promise of for better or worse. Many couples who have been married for a long time, raised families and had careers are questioning that promise as they consider their happiness in their golden years. The rate of divorce generally has decreased except for those over 50. The rate of the gray divorce is increasing in New Jersey and around the country.

Among the biggest issues facing any couple in a divorce, but especially those who are older, are financial issues. A person's peak earning years may have passed if he or she is in her 60s. When figuring spousal support, this could be a significant issue. There are many other financial concerns that should be understood when beginning the process.

Property division can be simplified by record keeping

Divorce is a difficult process and marks the end of a partnership that was begun with the belief that the partnership would last a lifetime in New Jersey. When a marriage ends after several years the issue of property division can become one that is fraught with emotion, and those emotions can make the issue that much more difficult to resolve. This can be particularly true when attempting to resolve issues regarding property division and the definition of marital property versus separate property. Real estate is frequently the largest asset held by a couple.

Marital property is typically considered to consist of debts and assets that were accrued during the marriage. Separate property usually refers to property a person acquired prior to the marriage. A recent case involved the question of real estate ownership before and during a marriage.

Prenuptial agreement can protect business in divorce

Small business plays a significant role in the economy of New Jersey and around the country. Many of these companies are started by people prior to marriage as many are waiting until later to marry. While the divorce rate does appear to be on the decline, there is still a significant risk of one's marriage ending in divorce. In the event that this happens, what becomes of the business?

Prenuptial agreements can be a powerful tool in protecting a business in the event of a divorce. While a business founded prior to marriage is not automatically marital property and so subject to asset distribution, a contribution by the spouse to the perceived value of the business can turn the business into marital property. Courts typically rule that contested property is marital property.

Fathers will want to keep these things in mind if they divorce

Navigating divorce in New Jersey or any other state is never easy, especially if you happen to be a father and your spouse is intent on causing as many problems as possible regarding child custody, visitation, child support and property division. The good news is that the days are gone when people logically assumed that children fare best in the sole custody of their mothers after divorce. Divorcing your spouse doesn't mean you wish to abdicate your role or responsibilities as a parent.

As a concerned parent, you might find it helpful to talk to friends or family members who have been through similar experiences. Sage advice from trusted loved ones and confidants can often mean the difference between getting through a divorce with minimum stress or becoming entangled in a highly contentious court battle.

Financial understanding can reduce stress that can end in divorce

Embarking on a marriage is one of the most exciting times in a young couple's life in New Jersey. They are full of hope for the future and what they anticipate to be a long and loving relationship. While the divorce rate among young couples is down, there is still almost a 50% chance of a marriage ending in divorce. For this reason, couples may want to take certain steps and consider certain financial issues prior to getting married.

Planning for the potential of a separate financial future can reduce some of the financial stress that can lead to divorce. When both parties are familiar with each other's finances and determine to remain open and honest about finances going forward, it can make for a more trusting and solid foundation to the marriage. One area to pay close attention to involves the finances of each partner prior to the marriage.

Divorce and asset distribution later in life

Couples in New Jersey and elsewhere in the country have been waiting longer to get married and are staying married longer. This has contributed to a decline in the divorce rate in recent years for younger couples. On the other hand, divorce among couples in their 50s and older has been increasing in recent years. Ending a marriage later in life can add complications as there is often more at stake when it comes to asset distribution.

A person seeking to end a marriage may be concerned about the possibility of not being left with enough to maintain the standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage. A person may be well acquainted with the value of the couple's estate and concerned that splitting the assets 50/50 will leave both people in a weakened position. This can become particularly complicated if there is a family business that was created during the marriage.

Emotions can wreak havoc on property division proceedings

Divorce can be a very emotional time in New Jersey, and this can be particularly true when it surprises one partner in a marriage that has lasted many years. Emotions should not get in the way of clear thinking and the determination of what one is entitled to when it comes to property division. Emotions can cloud one's judgement, which could have a negative effect on settlement negotiations.

It is important to understand what may be considered marital property when entering into the divorce process. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, which means property is not automatically split 50/50 but in an equitable manner. In a marriage that has lasted for many years, retirement accounts and pensions can figure prominently in settlement negotiations.

Emotions are best left out of property division proceedings

A couple embarking on the journey of a divorce face far different emotions than they may have faced at the beginning of the marriage. Where happiness, hope and anticipation often follow the marriage vows, dread, anger and hurt can follow the decision to divorce. These emotions can cloud the important decision making and fact gathering that go into the process of property division in New Jersey.

New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, which means that the assets obtained during the marriage, considered to be the marital estate, are not necessarily split down the middle but are divided up in what the court believes is a fair division of assets and liabilities. In order to facilitate a fair distribution, all assets and liabilities should be accounted for. The big items such as houses, cars and retirement accounts may come immediately to mind, but there are other assets or liabilities that can accumulate over the period of a marriage.

Co-parenting vs. parallel parenting plans

Except in certain situations, the days of one parent having sole custody and the other visitation are a thing of the past. These days, courts across the country, including here in New Jersey, tend to believe that both parents having as much interaction with the children as possible serves their best interests.

This is where co-parenting comes into play. The problem is that not all parents can co-parent because their personal relationship degraded to the point where it just isn't possible, at least in the beginning. If you are in this position, you could enter into a parallel parenting agreement with your former spouse.

Property division and marital property can be complicated

When a couple decides to divorce in New Jersey there are many issues to be resolved around who gets what. One issue that may arise is what assets are considered marital property and what are not. Many may understand that assets held prior to marriage are not usually considered marital property. However, there may be exceptions to this where property division is concerned.

In one instance, a woman had purchased and lived in a home prior to the marriage. The married couple lived in the house and paid off the mortgage. During this period, certain improvements were made to the home that were funded by both parties. In addition, bills, including the mortgage, were paid jointly.

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