Facing a divorce brings many emotional and logistical challenges, not the least of which are those regarding finances. Especially if you are the primary breadwinner in the couple and have supported your spouse through the marriage, you may be particularly concerned about the distribution of your assets following divorce.
There are numerous steps you can take to protect your assets as you face a dissolving marriage. Advance planning and cool-headed thinking can save you from making rash emotional decisions that you may regret later.
Collect evidence and documentation
If you are facing a contentious divorce and anticipate that difficult battles may lie ahead, it's particularly important that you collect evidence and documentation regarding all your assets and your financial situation. You should also keep track of your spouse's money as best as you can. Sometimes spouses try to hide assets so that they are not subject to division in the divorce settlement.
Another important piece of information you should obtain is a property valuation on all the properties you own. If you own a company, you should also have a valuation of your business. All your assets need to have an accurate value assessment so that you can go into the divorce with a clear picture of what is at stake.
Understand equitable distribution
New Jersey is one of many states that use the principle of equitable distribution as a guide for distributing assets and property in a divorce. Equitable distribution means the court will take several factors into consideration when making a decision about how to divide assets, rather than simply dividing property 50/50. Marital property can encompass a wide variety of assets, not only the home you and your spouse live in. You need to consider other potential sources of property, such as joint bank accounts and other personal property that you accumulated during the marriage.
Protecting your assets in your divorce is important to your financial well-being. Gather a solid record of your entire asset portfolio with as much documentation and information as possible, so you can have the most accurate picture of your net worth as you move into the divorce process.