New Jersey divorce law provides that all marital property shall be distributed equitably. But before a fair distribution can be agreed to, first the marital property and the separate property needs to be determined and then the property must be valued. Someone with many assets and/or complex financial holdings should consult an experienced divorce lawyer. NJ statutes, case law and prenuptial agreements will need to be reviewed to make sure your rights are fully protected.
There are several areas where an experienced attorney can guide you through the process. These include:
(1) If you or your spouse own a business – Businesses can be complex to appraise accurately, as there are numerous accounting procedures that can be difficult to wade through. Specialized experts called forensic accountants and actuarial experts can be utilized to provide a valuation on the business. Sometimes each party will each get their own appraisal with the two values to be used to ultimately agree on a fair value.
(2) Retirement Assets (401ks, IRAs, pensions) – In general, a QDRO will be performed to value that portion of retirement assets that were accumulated during the marriage (from the date of marriage to the date of the divorce filing).
(3) Real estate holdings – In addition to the primary residence, there may be vacation homes, commercial property or investment property. First, it must be determined if any portion of the property can be considered separate from marital property. Then the property must be valued, and a decision made about whether to keep it or sell it.
(4) Bonuses and Stock Options – There are accounting methods to help determine which portion of this type of compensation will be considered marital property subject to distribution.
It will take some time to properly value all of the holdings for high net worth couples. It’s important that you seek the advice of lawyers who specialize in New Jersey divorce law. They can make you aware of options for valuing and selling property to help ensure an equitable distribution.