Going through a divorce can be extremely difficult, not only emotionally, but also financially. Most people understand that the assets they acquired during their marriage (for example, a house, bank accounts, cars, etc.) will have to be divided during a divorce. What some people may not realize is that a business opened during a marriage is viewed as an asset subject to division during a divorce. While figuring out the value of your other assets may be easy, determining what a business is worth and how to “divide” the value can be quite difficult. We understand that no matter the asset involved, you want to make sure you are properly and zealously represented, because your future is on the line. Our job is to protect you and make sure your divorce doesn’t leave you feeling defeated.
That being said, there are a number of things you can do to protect your assets, including your business. Taking certain preemptive steps can help you avoid the stress often associated with dividing your assets and can also help avoid litigation.
Before Getting Married
The strongest, and perhaps most obvious, way of protecting your assets is by signing a prenuptial agreement with your partner before you get married. Doing this will make sure that any and all assets that you had before marriage are protected in case of a divorce. Further, a prenuptial agreement can determine how assets obtained during the marriage are divided. This helps alleviate the stress of arguing over the assets and often avoids the stress of litigation that can result if a couple simply cannot agree on how to divide what they have acquired. A prenuptial agreement that is written properly can take the guess work and expense out of a divorce.
Before Filing For Divorce
Unless you enter into a prenuptial agreement that clearly defines who owns what, and what will happen financially after your divorce, it is inevitable that during the course of your marriage, you are going to end up co-owning a number of assets with your partner that need to be divided. It is important to stay informed as to the assets that were acquired during your marriage and what they are approximately worth. Make sure you have access to statements and accounts. During a divorce, questions may arise regarding assets that were obtained with the use of money that one partner had before the marriage. To deal with these issues it is important to seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in family law and who is experienced dealing with such cases.
For example, there are certain assets that are generally protected from distribution during a divorce; examples include:
- Third-party gifts;
- Properties held prior to marriage;
- Retirement funds held prior to marriage.
However, if any of the assets mentioned above are used by the couple during their marriage, or are put under the names of both parties, they are considered “commingled” and are no longer protected from asset division. This is why it is imperative to seek the advice of an attorney that specialized in Divorce and Family Law.
When Filing for Divorce
When you finally do contact a family law attorney, it is time to start documenting and making a list of all the assets that have been amassed during the course of your marriage. While we've already mentioned many of the major assets above, you may need to document a number of smaller assets, not to mention any money that may be in retirement accounts and stocks.
The assets that you and your partner acquire will need to be divided equitably during your divorce. In New Jersey, equitable does not automatically mean an equal division of what you have. Because of that, you'll need to be meticulous when it comes to detailing all of your joint assets and once you've got that done, you need to make sure you have the right legal team by your side so that you can ensure you receive what is rightfully yours.
The knowledgeable divorce attorneys at Rozin | Golinder, LLC have years of experience helping individuals protect their assets during the difficult time of a divorce. If you need assistance before or during your divorce, don’t hesitate to contact our firm for experienced, strong, and compassionate counsel.