You have worked hard for what you own, and you do not want to lose it simply because you and your wife have arrived at irreconcilable differences. Because New Jersey law requires divorcing spouses to “equitably” divide their marital estate (unless they signed a prenuptial or mid-marriage agreement to the contrary), this means that half or more of your assets could be on the table in your divorce.
So, what can you do to avoid giving up too much to your wife in your divorce? Here are seven tips from the attorneys at MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey:
Tip #1: Identify Your “Separate” Assets
First, you need to identify any assets that qualify as your “separate” property under New Jersey law. These assets are not subject to distribution in your divorce. As a general rule, separate assets include:
- (i) anything you owned prior to your marriage,
- (ii) any assets you personally received by gift or inheritance during your marriage,
- (iii) personal injury damages awarded to you personally, and
- (iv) any assets designated as separate property in your prenuptial or mid-marriage agreement.
Tip #2: Prioritize Your “Marital” Assets
Regarding your “marital” assets (i.e. anything that does not quality as separate property), which items do you most want to keep after your divorce? You will not be able to keep everything, so you need to prioritize. By thinking carefully about what matters most, you can determine both (i) what you are willing to fight for, and (ii) what you are willing to concede in order to keep other items of property.
Tip #3: Think about Your Wife’s Priorities
In addition to thinking about your priorities, you should think about your wife’s priorities as well. What will she be willing to fight for? If you know which assets your wife is likely to prioritize, then you can build a strategy around finding a solution that achieves each of your respective goals.
Tip #4: Weigh Your Options
Ideally, you and your wife will be able to fully negotiate a property settlement agreement without third-party involvement. But, if you reach an impasse, you need to be aware of the options that are on the table.
How much do you know about mediation? What about collaborative law? If all else fails, are you prepared to fight for your desired property rights in court?
Tip #5: Consider the Other Financial Aspects of Your Divorce
There are more aspects to a divorce than the division of marital property, and it is important not to consider the equitable distribution of your assets in a vacuum. From alimony to tax benefits, there are various other financial components that you may be able to use to achieve a desirable property distribution.
Tip #6: Put Together a Plan
Once you have identified your separate assets, assessed your (and your spouse’s) priorities, and weighed your options for achieving a desirable outcome, then you can put together a plan for protecting the assets that matter most in your divorce.
What is the best-case scenario? What are the potential roadblocks and contingencies? The more you do to prepare in advance, the better able you will be to address these types of issues if and when they arise.
Tip #7: Be Prepared to Stand Firm in Your Divorce
Finally, the outcome of your divorce could impact the rest of your life, so you need to be prepared to stand firm when necessary. While all divorces involve compromise, if you are serious about protecting your financial future, you need to know when it is in your best interests not to deviate from your plan.
Schedule an Initial Divorce Consultation in Hackensack, NJ
If you are preparing for a divorce and would like more information about protecting your assets during the process, please contact us to schedule an initial consultation. To speak with a divorce lawyer at MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey, call us at (201) 654-4263 or inquire online today.