Tag: Asset Division
Default Divorce as an Option you Can Disscuss with your Divorce Attorney in Brick, NJ
Even if your spouse does not want to divorce, the divorce process can and will still move forward through a process called “default divorce.”
Is your spouse hiding to avoid being served with the divorce court papers? Are they refusing to sign or participate in any discussion surrounding your request for divorce? Maybe your spouse believes that the divorce process or civil union dissolution can’t move forward if they aren’t willing to participate. If so, it can make ending your marriage more difficult, but it will not prevent it.
Family laws in New Jersey take into consideration that ending a marriage can sometimes be a one-sided decision. Progressive revisions to New Jersey’s family law statutes around divorce permit one spouse to divorce with or without the cooperation of the other spouse.
At The Bronzino Law Firm, our separation and divorce attorneys are representing families in your community including Asbury Park, Neptune, Wall, Manasquan, Point Pleasant, Brick, Jackson, Sea Girt, and across the Jersey Shore. We know that divorce is complicated. We provide effective and personalized legal solutions at reasonable rates.
Why You Should Always Respond to a Ocean County Refusal of Divorce Petition
Whether it is a fear of losing custody of the children, lifestyle changes due to asset division, or a fear of ruining a family business, it is almost always, a bad idea not to respond to a court summons. If one believes that by ignoring divorce papers, the divorce proceedings will stop, it’s often because the spouse who has been served, does not understand the resulting legal consequences of “being in default” will bring.
By not responding, your soon-to-be ex’s choice to ignore the legality of the situation is interpreted as a relinquishing of their rights to give evidence or to testify on their own behalf, make arguments, or impact the eventual judicial decree which could cover: child custody, child support, co-parenting time or visitation, alimony and equitable asset division. Thus, this lack of participation or disinterest in any part of the process, results in a “default divorce.”
Default Divorce Timeline: With or Without a Signed Agreement In New Jersey
After the plaintiff spouse serves divorce papers, the defendant has 35 days to respond. If the defendant fails to respond within those 35 days, the plaintiff can then request a default divorce within 60 days. In addition, for a default judgment to be granted, an Affidavit of Non-Military Service is also filed. If the defendant is an active duty military person, this could potentially delay or complicate your divorce matter.
- With a signed settlement agreement a hearing could be scheduled or you may be asked to submit your agreement for judicial review. If your settlement agreement is in proper legal order, your divorce will be granted on the date of the hearing or in accordance with your county’s court regulations.
- Without a signed settlement agreement your default divorce hearing will require more financially related documentation preparation (i.e., Notice of Equitable Distribution and Case Information Statement). Together these two documents address all of the divorce issues relevant to your family and marriage, such as child custody, visitation, alimony, child support, division of all assets, insurance coverage and debt payment responsibilities; along with other information about income, assets, liabilities and possibly a monthly budget.
Knowing this information may be helpful to you, but it doesn’t minimize or eliminate the advantages of having the legal guidance from a knowledgeable attorney who is dedicated to looking out for your best interests.
Contact a Brick, NJ Divorce and Family Law Firm today
The Bronzino Law Firm is committed to providing the best quality representation in Monmouth and Ocean Counties and in all of our surrounding communities.
We have extensive experience in family law matters and can help you know your options.
Depending on the extent of your spouse’s participation, they may have the right to participate in the final hearing and to oppose your requests. Regardless of whether they appear, as long as your requests are seen as fair and reasonable, the judge will most likely accept them and grant your divorce.
Brick and Sea Girt NJ Same-sex Divorce Attorneys
Monmouth and Ocean County Divorce Lawyers discuss potential roadblocks that divorcing same-sex spouses may come across
Going through a divorce is difficult for anyone involved. It comes with emotional, mental, physical, and financial stress that can turn your world upside down. Often, complicating factors make a divorce even more difficult to navigate, such as when children are involved. Another example is two spouses of same-sex divorcing. Their stresses may be augmented due to a few additional complications in the process.
Dividing Assets Prior to Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage
One of the most difficult hurdles that many divorcing same-sex couples in New Jersey face is their assets division. New Jersey legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, relatively recently for many LGBTQ couples. Couples who have a longstanding relationship and many shared assets accumulated over the years will have a harder time legally dividing those assets, as their union was not recognized until their marriage was legalized in 2013 or later. As CNBC noted in its 2017 report “Same-Sex Divorce Poses Complications for Some Splitting Couples,” court systems don’t have a standard method of determining how assets are split from a couple that has been together for longer than their legal recognition. According to the report, some courts may accept, given proof, that the relationship functioned at the status of marriage, albeit unofficial, before the passage of the 2013 Garden State Equality Law. In such a case, the judge may consider all assets acquired since then shared assets. This certainly isn’t the standard, so a divorce involving a long-term relationship that has only been legalized in the last few years could mean a dependent spouse losing entitlement to many of the ‘shared’ assets.
State-to-State Discrepancies in Same-Sex Marriage Law
States have dealt with the issue of same-sex marriage differently from state to state over the past decades. Until the Defense of Marriage Act was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and repealed in 2013, determining that the federal government cannot discriminate against a gay, lesbian, or queer couple for the purposes of federal legal rights and protections, same-sex couples have had to navigate their relationships differently. Even after DOMA was overturned, many states took years to legalize same-sex marriage, though domestic partnerships may have been legally recognized. Until 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states in Obergefell vs. Hodges, couples who moved between states over the course of their relationship or were in states in which domestic partnership – or nothing – was legal had to live between blurred lines in recognition of their union.
According to Forbes, one of the main difficulties same-sex couples face is that before the DOMA was repealed, many couples obtained a domestic partnership’s legal status. After the repeal, some states automatically converted domestic partnerships to marriages. However, some did not. This means that upon divorce, some couples have to terminate the marriage and terminate the domestic partnership.
The complications that a long-term, interstate relationship can add to a divorce are many. However, they can be navigated and resolved with the support of a skilled divorce attorney who is knowledgeable in the state and federal legal timeline of marriage law before the federal blanket legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015.
When children are involved
As with any divorce, the inclusion of a child complicates matters. This is especially the case if the child was adopted before the marriage was legalized in New Jersey. The parent who has legal guardianship rights of the adopted child might receive custodial rights in a divorce if the couple was not married at the time of adoption.
If one member of the couple is the child’s biological parent, they will likely be granted custodial rights unless the other parent has undergone the process of adoption. This means that the other spouse is not required to pay child support after a divorce. However, they may also not have custodial or even visitation rights after the divorce if there is no legal relationship between spouse and child. To have custodial rights or visitation rights – and pay child support, the spouse must have adopted or taken steps to adopt or have obtained a parentage judgment.
CONTACT A BRICK, NJ SAME-SEX DIVORCE ATTORNEY
At Bronzino Law, LLC, our divorce attorneys’ team serves clients across Monmouth County and Ocean County towns, including Neptune, Manasquan, Point Pleasant, Toms River, Brick, Asbury Park, Wall, and more in all divorce and child custody matters.
Feel free to call our Brick or Sea Girt Bronzino Law, LLC office at (732) 812-3102 for a free and confidential virtual consultation today to discuss your specific situation regarding any kind of divorce or family law matter.
Dividing a Family Business in Ocean and Monmouth County Divorce Cases
Educating Clients in financial issues throughout Ocean and Monmouth County towns such as Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey
When family business owners begin the divorce process, frequently their concerns are about their financial future and how their assets will be divided. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. This means that all assets are divided in an equal manner. But it does not mean necessarily that all assets will be split 50-50. If one spouse owns a business before marriage or inherits it, any profits made during the marriage will count as marital property if the increase in profits was a direct result of the active participation of the spouses during that time. In an equitable distribution state like New Jersey, there is no fixed formula for dividing marital assets. This means that acute negotiation skills and knowledge of complex laws are a must in order to reach a fair settlement.
The Bronzino Law Firm has a great deal of experience facilitating a fair and equitable agreement regarding the division of a family business in a divorce. Divorce can be painful and determining who gets what can be exhausting and complicated. Let our knowledgeable team of attorneys guide you through the process to assure you the fairest settlement.
Will I have to give up 50% of my business holdings in divorce?
Not necessarily. Equitable distribution does not always mean a 50/50 split of business assets. Several factors are taken into account such as the length of the marriage, how old each spouse is, and whether or not he/she will be able to maintain a similar standard of living as was experienced during the marriage. Any education or special classes that a spouse will need to earn money on their own will also be contemplated.
Also, if one spouse put aside their career or contributed to the marriage through further education or training and a higher salary. The amount of time and money put into the business by each spouse is also important as well as whether or not the business was established before the marriage.
Are some factors more important than others when dividing a business?
Some judges place more emphasis on the length of the marriage and marital lifestyle. For example, spouses ending longer marriages have usually contributed more significantly to a standard of living and given up more individual opportunities to work or study.
How does Equitable Distribution work?
There are three steps:
1. Identify marital property.
Marital property includes assets and debts accumulated during the marriage. Any property or business acquired before the marriage or as the result of an inheritance or gift isn’t included. A spouse who claims that any property the couple owns at the time of divorce is exclusively theirs will have to provide the documentation to prove it. This can be difficult, as separate and marital property are often combined. For example, one spouse might sell a business before the marriage and then transfer the money to a joint bank account during the marriage.
Distinguishing marital property from separate property can be complicated. If you and your spouse disagree about whether a specific property is separate or marital, ask an attorney for advice.
2. Determine the Value of marital property.
When a division of assets is required, the business is assigned a “fair market value” which is equal to the estimated amount of its worth if it were sold. Sometimes real estate specialists or business appraisers must be called in to make a fair judgment. The court also accepts the financial records of a business to demonstrate annual profits. Tax returns are frequently included as well.
3. Distribute Marital Property
There are many options in the distribution of marital assets. A couple can decide to co-own the business and continue working together. If the divorce is amicable, this is a good option. Another option is to sell the business to a third party and divide the proceeds after debts related to the business have been paid. A third option is for one spouse to buy out the other. Typically, this option can be challenging due to a lack of liquid assets belonging to one spouse which would be necessary for the buyout.
This looks complicated. What should I do?
The first thing you should do is not panic. The process of going through a divorce is complicated and can be confusing. You need a family attorney with the experience and knowledge to guide you through the process and make sure your assets are fairly distributed. There are many factors to consider and other experts may be needed. At the Bronzino Law Firm, we are prepared to make your transition as smooth and expeditious as possible.
Consult with a Divorce and Business Valuation Attorney in Brick or Sea Girt NJ Today
At the Bronzino Law Firm, we are ready to help you with your divorce settlement concerns. Let us help you obtain a division of assets that is fair to both you and your spouse. To speak with our offices today in a free consultation about your divorce, finances, and division of family business issues, please contact us online or through our Brick or Sea Girt offices at (732) 812-3102.
Deferred Compensation in Divorce Attorney in Ocean and Monmouth County NJ
Serving clients throughout Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, Wall Township and the Jersey Shore
Much like other complex assets, New Jersey law considers retirement accounts eligible for equitable distribution during the course of a divorce or civil union dissolution. They may even be seen as an income stream for the purpose of calculating spousal support and child support. Assets such as real estate holdings, investment portfolios, and family businesses and business partnerships first need to be accurately valued, then separated into marital and private ownership. Only then can they be divided in a “fair” manner. No asset is too complex or intermingled for our qualified attorneys to properly value, provide experienced legal advice on, and subsequently divide in an equitable manner favorable to you.
At The Bronzino Law Firm, our retirement asset division legal team believes in simplifying the asset division process for our Ocean and Monmouth County clients from towns including Sea Girt, Asbury Park, Neptune, Brick, Wall, Point Pleasant, Toms River, Jackson, Manasquan, Brille, and the surrounding communities. Our firm does not provide one-size-fits-all legal solutions like some larger firms. Instead, we take pride in working closely with our clients to deliver uniquely tailored legal service that addresses their individual needs and concerns.
What is Deferred Compensation?
Many businesses offer unique assets like benefits, bonuses, profit units, incentives, and other forms of remuneration to attract and retain top employees. This portion of an employee’s compensation is set aside to be paid out at a later date, usually when they retire. Taxes related to this particular income (i.e., bonus deferral plans, pension plans, stock options, retirement plans, etc.,) are “deferred” until it is paid out, often reducing the tax burden.
With additional resources such as financial experts, our attorneys can help you navigate a complex financial and legal landscape and find clarity in your rights, so you can move on from your marriage.
What are Qualified and Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation Plans?
Qualified retirement plans have contribution limits, are offered to all employees and are taxed when the contribution is made to the account, such as for:
- Traditional IRAs
- Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA
- Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA
Non-qualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans are offered to executives and key employees. As there are no limits on contributions, these plans allow the company to postpone payment of some compensation, while giving the recipient a way to save more for retirement than a qualified plan, such as with a:
- Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan (SERP)
- Savings Accounts
- Money Market Mutual Funds
- Certificates of Deposits (CDs)
What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO?
QDROs cover plans which are qualified due to the fact that plan participants still owe taxes at the time they withdraw funds. Retirement assets are highly regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the IRS and cannot be divided at any time. Distributions or withdrawals from most retirement plans often carry significant tax implications and penalties. QDROs are court orders which allow retirement assets to be distributed without the usual tax implications. Since early withdrawal often carries a minimum 10% mandatory penalty in addition to whatever else you might owe in taxes, if your retirement plan distribution is done through a QDRO during divorce litigation, it will not be considered taxable.
To avoid these issues, if you are a spouse eligible to receive all or a portion of a retirement account, your Sea Girt retirement plan asset division attorney can seek a QDRO for a judge to sign.
What About My Spouse’s Vested and Non-Vested Compensation?
Vested Compensation is compensation available now because of the specified amount of time for that particular asset has passed. This type of asset distribution is often pretty straight forward and easy to handle. The courts will determine the value of the compensation and:
- require that it be cashed out or have the stock options exercised or
- award it to the employee spouse and have equivalent assets awarded to the other spouse
Non-Vested Compensation can be a bit more challenging as they have not yet reached the specified amount of time, and as such are not a tangible asset that can be distributed. In some cases, the non-employee spouse may not be eligible for the full amount, only for the time period “earned” during the marriage, in which that particular asset was deferred.
Will Setting Up a Callahan Trust for Non-Vested Compensation Assure A Fairer Division of Assets?
In some circumstances, where the asset remains non-vested, the employee spouse can buyout the non-titled spouse from his/her share by valuing the asset using the current market value and deducting the applicable taxes or by holding the asset in a constructive Callahan Trust, for the other party. By setting up a trust one avoids some risk and the perception of any unfairness due to the potential loss and speculative value of the assets.
Contact Us At Our Brick Or Sea Girt Office Locations
Our Toms River equitable distribution and retirement asset attorneys will help you through the sensitive legal process to ensure fairness and the equitable distribution of stock options, retirement plans and other forms of deferred compensation, that may be in question.