Divorces can be difficult enough without the complications presented by complex estates and large sums of money. Financial stability is typically a top priority for divorcing spouses, and many people will go to great lengths to protect what they feel they deserve when assets are divided.
However, there are a few common errors or missteps that people can make during this difficult time that could have a serious impact on the divorce settlement that is ultimately reached or judgment that is ultimately entered. A recent article in Forbes highlights these issues that can jeopardize a high-asset divorce.
One mistake people can make is having unrealistic expectations of the legal process. People may know that in New Jersey, all marital assets are eligible for equitable distribution. This is commonly interpreted to mean an equal split; however, this is not accurate. Courts work to divide property fairly or “equitably,” which may not necessarily be an equal division, and spouses may not always agree with what is considered fair.
The second mistake many people make is failing to understand the full financial picture. In many marriages, one spouse is typically in charge of managing finances. This person generally sees the full picture of in whose name assets are titled, sources of income and where money is being kept. The other spouse can be at a distinct disadvantage if he or she doesn’t take steps to educate him/herself as to the specifics of all the assets that are or should be eligible for division.
Finally, it can be common for people to underestimate the legal and financial complexity of dividing a complicated estate. By not reaching out for help from professionals, divorcing spouses can be missing out on the experience and insights that can prove to be crucial in the event of a divorce.
Spouses have enough to worry about during any divorce, including heated emotions and dramatic shifts in lifestyle. In order to regain some control over the situation and find some peace of mind, people with significant assets and wealth at stake may be wise to discuss their options with an attorney.