After deciding to end your marriage, the next big hurdle you and your spouse face is property division, which can be complicated, especially in a high-asset divorce.
Advanced planning is essential, and you would be wise to make a list of marital assets. Here are six you may not have thought about.
1. Club memberships
You and your spouse may belong to a country club, or perhaps a golf club. There are initiation fees and annual dues, and such memberships could represent assets for the two of you to divide.
2. Air miles
Perhaps you or your spouse frequently travel by air for business purposes, and you have accumulated considerable travel reward points. Now think about these points in terms of vacation travel, a nice perk for whoever gets the rewards.
3. Your pets
Your bulldog, Spike, is a member of the family, but the law sees him as property. If you are very attached to Spike and want to keep him, you may want to make sure he is a priority and let your attorney know.
4. Kinds of intellectual property
Copyrights, royalties, trademarks and patents are intellectual property. If you acquired any of these during the marriage, they are typically marital assets. You generally should address ownership rights and include them in the divorce settlement.
You will probably be happy to know that your engagement ring is likely yours to keep; it is generally separate property. However, anniversary gifts like the gold watch you gave your spouse and the jewelry he gave to you are likely marital property.
6. Tax refunds
Depending on the time of year your divorce takes place, a tax refund could be in the offing. If so, this could constitute a marital asset that is subject to distribution.
Whatever you do with the list moving forwards, make sure to keep a copy for yourself. Remember that New Jersey is an equitable division state, and marital assets will therefore not necessarily be split down the middle. The court generally will seek to divide them in as fair a manner as possible.