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How older couples might approach property division

| Jun 11, 2020 | Family Law

Divorce is usually difficult for everyone, but when older spouses decide to separate, their financial situations might be particularly complex. Couples in New Jersey who are close to retirement might also be concerned about the fact that they will not have as many years in the workforce to recover from the divorce financially.

In some divorces, one spouse might try to hide assets. If this happens, the other may want to consult a lawyer about how to handle the situation. Even if this is not a concern, spouses should make a list of all individual and marital property. Individual property usually includes gifts and inheritances. Estate planning documents, tax returns and any prenuptial agreements can also be helpful. Rules specific to the type of account govern the division of pension plans, annuities, IRAs and 401(k)s in a divorce.

Once a person’s financial situation is established, it is also important to know what their lifestyle will be after the divorce. For some, the main concern might be having access to some liquid assets in case of emergency or for helping children through college. Others might want to make a major change, such as traveling the world or starting a foundation. No matter their plans, this will help a soon-to-be ex determine what they need from the marital property.

Property division can be a complicated process. For example, if the couple has a 401(k) to divide, they will need to prepare a qualified domestic relations order. There may be a home that must be sold, or one spouse may need to buy out the other. The couple might be able to work with their attorneys to amicably negotiate a divorce agreement, or they can go through litigation if negotiation is not possible.

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