Skilled Divorce Attorneys Focus on Asset Protection in New Jersey
Trustworthy advocates handle the division of marital estates (from high net worth sophisticated matters to straight-forward simple asset division)
If you’ve achieved a comfortable standard of living, you certainly want to maintain that lifestyle after your divorce. To get there, you need effective advocacy from a knowledgeable attorney. This is always our goal in the family law & divorce practice at Schenck Price to be efficient and effective. At Schenck Price, based in Florham Park, we have extensive experience counseling high net worth clients along with many other New Jersey residents. We work to protect your valuable assets during the equitable distribution process by providing personalized legal support no matter the size of your estate. No matter their net worth people try to avoid unnecessary waste of time and money. Our attorneys review the details of your finances to put you in the strongest possible position during discussions and litigation relating to the allocation of marital property.
New Jersey’s equitable distribution process
New Jersey uses the equitable distribution standard, which means that judges are required to divide marital assets and debts fairly, but not necessarily equally. Spouses keep their “separate property”, which can include property acquired prior to the marriage typically in the individual’s separate name, gifts and inheritances given to one spouse during the marriage. Income earned, assets acquired and debt assumed during the marriage are generally considered marital property and are subject to division even if in one party’s name alone.
Strategies for protecting assets during divorce
There are several ways to protect assets you feel you should retain during your divorce, including:
- Proving the assets are separate property — If you have a prenuptial agreement designating certain assets as separate property, you can present that contract to the court. If not, you must show the provenance of the property qualifies it as separate, and that you did not commingle it with your marital property.
- Demonstrating the proper value of specific assets — Disagreements over the value of specific assets such as fine art, luxury vehicles, real estate or a business can skew an equitable distribution analysis. If the purported value of an item is inflated, you might have to give up too much to keep it. An independent expert can appraise the property’s value, giving you a basis for the price you claim during settlement discussions or in court.
- Demonstrating that you are deserving of a greater share of the marital estate — The court applies several factors to determine how much of the marital estate you should receive. Factors include the length of the marriage, the contribution of each spouse to the accumulation of wealth, contributions as a homemaker and caretaker of children and contributions to your spouse’s career.
As your advocates, we bring to the court’s attention all facts that favor a larger property award.
Property division issues that particularly affect high net worth divorces
Couples with significant assets might experience serious disputes over:
- Business valuation and cash flow - Business ownership allows an individual to pay many expenses through the business which are typically personal so actual income or cash flow is higher than on the taxes. Valuing a business for a divorce is very different than in the open market. We use fair value, not fair market value. Forensic accountants are involved in these very important analyses.
- Home ownership — The family home is often the most valuable asset, so who gets it? In some cases, selling the home and dividing the proceeds is fairest. However, the court may find reasons, including stability for the children, to award occupancy of the home to one spouse.
- Retirement savings — Proceeds of a 401(k) or pension could be considered marital property, and can be divided without penalty using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).
- Hidden assets — Hiding assets during divorce to prevent distribution is in bad faith and will have negative consequences. We work with forensic accountants to uncover anomalies that indicate a spouse is hiding income, savings or property.
When you retain our services, you can rely on our legal knowledge and attention to the important details as we pursue an optimal property distribution order for you.
Tanya Helfand has been in practice for almost 30 years. She also owned retail stores for years and is experienced at working with the couple on business ownership issues.
Contact a dedicated Morris County family law attorney for a consultation
Schenck Price advises divorcing New Jersey clients on property division terms and other issues. We provide personalized attention to every case we undertake. Call 973-539-1000 or contact us online to schedule a consultation by phone or Zoom. We appear regularly in counties throughout New Jersey – Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, Morris, Somerset, Sussex and Union.