When one or both spouses have a significant amount of wealth, it is typically seen as a high net worth divorce. There is no denying that high net worth divorces often bring more complications than regular divorces. Whether contested or not, you will need to ensure that all property is properly identified and distributed through the divorce. It is crucial that you plan ahead for your divorce to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible and that a fair agreement is reached in the end.
Understanding High Net Worth Divorce in NJ
Just like regular divorce, high net worth divorce involves property division, alimony, child support, and other matters. However, due to the serious amount of assets at stake, both parties are often more ready to fight for what they see as their fair share.
In New Jersey, equitable distribution is used to determine how this property is divided up. Whether you are the spouse holding the higher amount of assets or not, it is crucial that you understand how equitable distribution works. The division of you and your spouse’s property must simply be equitable and fair, which is not necessarily equal. There is no mandatory 50/50 property or business division, meaning that the court will use their own discretion when determining how to distribute the property amongst you and your spouse. All assets that are considered martial (obtained or grown during the marriage) will be divided in this process. Any assets that were kept separate will not need to go through division. In many cases, the longer your marriage lasted, the more likely your pre-marital assets have merged into marital ones.
What steps should I take when preparing for divorce?
When heading in to this type of divorce, it is important that you:
- Make the distinction between marital and pre-marital assets
- Have any business, partnership, or professional practice valuated
- Prepare to have 401 (k) accounts, stocks, and bonds divided
- Identify all real marital property (home, car, vacation property, etc.)
- Gather all documents related to property and business assets
- Make sure that your spouse is not hiding any assets to avoid distribution
- Stay on top of tax documents and paperwork
- Get legal counsel on your side as soon as possible
Furthermore, if you or the other spouse has assets in trusts or tied up in certain investments, it is imperative that you determine how these assets will be divided. Will you need to sell your business or cash out of your investment in order to split this monetary value with your spouse? Do you need to have your spouse’s partnership valuated to ensure they are being honest about the value? The more you prepare ahead of time, the better you can protect your assets and interests.
As mentioned above, one of the most vital steps you can take during this time is retaining an attorney. A legal advocate who is experienced in handling high net worth divorces can better guide you through each step of the process.
Have more questions about preparing for your high net worth divorce? Contact the Monmouth County divorce lawyers at our firm today.