Tag: marital assets

House and Asset Division Attorney in Monmouth and Ocean County NJ

Serving clients across the Jersey Shore in Point Pleasant, Toms River, Jackson, Wall, Sea Girt, and Brick.

Splitting the House in a DivorceOften, the largest asset in a divorce is the marital home. The marital home could be sold off with the parties splitting the equity, if any, or one spouse could buy out the other spouse’s interest in the property and, therefore, will retain the house after the divorce. This blog entry will focus on the latter, a buy out of the marital home.

If the home’s market value is $300,000, and the parties owe $200,000 on their mortgage, there is $100,000 of equity in the home. Assuming that the house was bought during the marriage with marital assets with no other relevant factors at play, each party should be entitled to $50,000 from the house. Therefore, to buy out the other spouse, Spouse A, who wants to keep the home, should pay Spouse B $50,000 for their property interest.

What Happens in Case There is Mortgage?

If the home has a mortgage on it, more often than not, both spouses are on the mortgage and are equally responsible. A person can easily be removed from the deed, but that does not mean they are removed from the mortgage. As long as a person is on the mortgage, they are still responsible for the payments, even if they are not on the deed. That means it is important for the spouse leaving the property to be removed from the mortgage.

A person can only be removed from the mortgage if it is paid off or if there is a mortgage modification. Both circumstances essentially require a refinance of the mortgage in the spouse’s name that is retaining the property only. Often it is difficult for a person to qualify for the new loan now that the bank would only be looking at one income instead of two. Therefore, even if both parties agree that one will retain the home, it may not be possible because of refinancing issues. The property would be sold off in that scenario, and the equity would be split, rather than a buyout.

What is the period of time to effectuate the refinance?

When drafting a property settlement agreement with a potential refinance, it is usually agreed upon that the party that is retaining the home is given a period of time to effectuate the refinance. This is generally two to six months. If the refinance is not completed within that period of time, the property will be sold off with whatever equity split. This way, the spouse retaining the home is given maximum opportunity to refinance, if at all possible.

Consult a Divorce Attorney with Offices in Brick and Sea Girt NJ

To speak with Bronzino Law Firm today in a free consultation, please contact us online or through our Brick offices at (732) 812-3102.

Staying Healthy Through the Divorce Process and Building a Life After Divorce

Brick Divorce Attorneys offer the following suggestions to support you in your transition to the next chapter of your life.

Divorce Attorneys Help you Navigate Through Your Divorce ProcessGoing through a divorce isn’t easy. Even when separation is inevitable, and a split is healthy for both parties, the divorce proceedings and transition process can take a serious toll on your mental, emotional, and financial health. When there is tension between exes, the stressors increase, but even the most amicable divorce can leave you feeling drained and disoriented.

The support of an experienced and conscientious family law attorney will allow you to focus your attention on your emotional wellbeing, as well as ensure that you receive your fair share of the marital assets. A family law attorney also makes it possible for you to develop social support networks during this important time of transition so that you are grounded moving forward into your new life.

How can I take care of myself after a divorce?

We offer the following suggestions to support you in your transition to the next chapter of your life. Divorce proceedings aren’t only taxing on your relationship with your ex and your finances. They represent a dismantling of entire life orientation and a redirection. Navigating this tumultuous time – which is also a powerful opportunity – with proper resources and perspectives can make all the difference in how quickly you can move forward into your future.

Be gentle with yourself.

It is normal to mourn the death of a relationship and life you built with your ex. Whether you began the process of moving through the eight stages of grief long before the divorce or you are just feeling the sadness now, allowing yourself time to feel is essential to complete healing and moving into your new life whole. Many things will change as a result of a divorce – friendships may fall away; the sense of security and stability you once took for granted may feel pulled out from beneath you; and your relationship with your children may go through a turbulent time as everyone acclimates to a new normal, each within their own stage of the grief and transition process.

Take care of your body.

Stress affects both the body and the mind. During the course of the divorce proceedings, you may find your appetite to be erratic and your self-care rituals thrown by the wayside. This, however, is the most important time to be diligent about grounding in routines and rituals that nourish you on physical, mental, and emotional levels.

  • Eat a healthy diet. Ensuring you eat a well-rounded diet during this time, focusing on grounding foods such as root vegetables and hearty grains, will support you as you face the waves of emotion and stress brought on by a divorce. Eat a variety of organic fruits and vegetables to maintain a clean system, and stay hydrated.
  • Move your body. Whether it is taking a stroll through a park, participating in a yoga class, or elevating your heart rate with high-intensity training, all physical movement is going to support your nervous system and immune system at this time. The endorphins released in your brain, like serotonin, will increase your feelings of wellbeing and resilience.
  • Sleep is essential to help the body recuperate, especially from the effects of the fight-or-flight responses that the body produces during a testy experience like a divorce, such as elevated stress hormone cortisol levels.
  • Similar to rest, meditation activates the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest-and-digest counter to the fight-or-flight response. Finding 15 minutes to focus on your breath moving through your body can greatly impact your resilience and even your immune function.

Seek support.

The presence of inspiring and supportive figures in your life at this time is essential. Seek out people who lift you and gather around activities that exercise your mind, body, and spirit – like book clubs, yoga classes, and group hikes. Develop your hobbies and seek out the community that is gathering around them. You never know who you might meet and what you might learn!

Divorce Attorney in Brick Help You Transition the stages in your divorce process.

In addition to having a community around you, seeking a professional therapist’s support can help you find perspective and actively heal aspects that are struggling with this transition process.

At Bronzino Law Firm, our divorce attorneys team brings extensive experience supporting our clients across Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in coming to a swift and fair divorce settlement that aligns them with a bright future.

To schedule a consultation with our firm today regarding your divorce, please visit our online form or call us at  (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your options.

Stimulus Check in Ocean and Monmouth County NJ Divorce Attorneys

The U.S. government stepped in to provide stimulus funding to counter the pandemic has caused for individuals and families.

Stimulus Check in Ocean and Monmouth County NJ Divorce AttorneysThe Covid-19 pandemic has wrought havoc on the entire world. The physical, emotional, and financial effects of the Coronavirus have forced people everywhere to adjust their lives. The U.S. government stepped in to provide stimulus funding to counter the pandemic has caused for individuals and families. Stimulus funding of $1,200 per person was based on the gross income they reported in their most recent tax return, as well as their filing status — couples who submitted one tax return received a joint stimulus check. This has confused couples who have separated or divorced since they last filed a joint tax return. In this case, who gets the funds? Read on to learn more.

What was the stimulus check?

The U.S. government provided each United States citizen and resident alien with a stimulus check, called an Economic Impact Payment, of $1,200, as long as their adjusted gross income was no larger than $112,500 for heads of household or $75,000 for other eligibles. If a couple filed their taxes jointly, the government provided a joint stimulus payment of $2,400, given that the married couple’s joint filing was no larger than $150,000. To be eligible to receive the Economic Impact Payment, the filer could not depend on another taxpayer, and they have to have a work-eligible Social Security number.

What if my spouse and I separated or divorced after our last tax filing?

If you and your spouse filed your taxes for the last fiscal year jointly but have since separated or divorced, the government still sent you a joint stimulus check. In this case, these funds are considered marital assets and are subject to being equitably distributed. You must seek your family law attorney’s counsel in properly reporting and distributing these funds. Failure to do so could result in consequences that affect the marital assets you receive in the divorce because it could be considered withholding assets, which is illegal.

Even if you and your partner have already filed a financial affidavit with the New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part, which outlines all of your marital assets, when you received the stimulus funding, you must report it after the fact, as it is considered one of those marital assets. Though the government funding was not included in the affidavit you and your partner each signed, all marital assets obtained after the fact due to extenuating circumstances such as this one are likely considered part of those legally binding provisions. Hiding such assets could even be considered an act of perjury, as you signed off on all marital assets in the affidavit but withheld one, even if received after the fact. According to N.J.S.A. 2C 28-1, this type of contempt of court is a third-degree offense in New Jersey that is punishable by the financial penalty or even time in jail. Punishment for such a crime could be a fine of up to $15,000 and jail time of 3-5 years. Is that worth it for a relatively small stimulus check?

What if my spouse and I separated or divorced after our last tax filing?Aside from the obvious desire to be in alignment with New Jersey law, another reason to make sure you have the counsel to properly report the joint funding that a judge has the legal reach to take your own stimulus check from you if the court finds you have withheld that funding from the proper procedure distributing marital assets. Consider the following ways in which marital assets are sometimes withheld, and make sure that you are not accidentally committing any of these crimes: hiding money at your place of employment or in a business bank account not to report it to your joint account; transferring funds to a family member; putting funds in your child’s accounts without the intention of keeping it there, and without the permission from your spouse to use their rightful money in that way; loaning funds to friends that includes marital money, without your spouse’s consent.

Brick Divorce Attorney Guide you File your Case.

When in doubt, seek the support of a trusted legal advisor to ensure that you and your ex receive your fair share of marital assets during your divorce process.

At Bronzino Law Firm, our skilled team of family law attorneys supports clients across Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in all divorce processes, including the separation of marital assets and the receipt of stimulus funding post-affidavit submission.

To meet with an experienced member of our team regarding your divorce, please visit our online form or call us at  (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your options.

Separation and Parenting Time Support When Raising a Teenager

Instructing parents going through separation or divorce while raising a teenager in Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey

Separation and Parenting Time Support When Raising a TeenagerSeparation from a spouse can upend even the most together person. In addition to all of the legal considerations and steps that must be taken to finalize the divorce and fairly distribute marital assets, one must tend to their own emotional, physical, and mental health – all of which can be upended by such a stark transition.

This is simply the personal process; add children to the mix, and the process of divorce is an experience that can shift family dynamics, and not just for the better. When you are divorcing and there is a child involved, it is imperative that you keep their stability and wellbeing at the center of all consideration. When the child is a pre-teen or teen, there are additional hurdles to maintaining stability, especially emotional. Anyone who has or has ever been a teenager knows that drama is a byproduct. The following considerations will help you navigate separation from a spouse while strengthening your bond with your teenager.

Seek the support of a parenting counselor

Committing to seek the support of a New Jersey parenting counselor with your ex can make the road to stability for you both – and your teenager – a much smoother process. A parenting counselor is trained in developing systems and norms with separated parents that ground co-parenting in common goals, visions, and routines. The parenting counselor is not there to discuss why you separated, though they will be able to help facilitate discussions regarding differences of opinion about how to raise the child. A parenting counselor is there to offer practical support while keeping a child-centric, age-appropriate focus for the co-parenting planning.

Set up shared systems and routines

Set up shared systems and routinesHaving shared systems in place is key to a stable environment for a teen splitting time between parents. Shifts in hormones, as well as the drama and stress that today’s teens face, in addition to the divorce, make for trying atmosphere within and around them. Have as many grounded routines as possible in place in both homes, so your teen feels a sense of consistency and safety despite an inwardly turbulent experience. As part of your custody arrangement, you will develop a parenting time agreement with your former spouse. Be as detailed as possible about arrangements for co-parenting, and be willing to update it as you try it on and get a feel for what works – and what doesn’t work – for your teen and you both.

When common systems are in place, it makes it easier for you as a parent to check in with your teen about how their time with their other parent was, as you have a frame of reference and a sense of understanding of what your child’s day-to-day flow is like.

Communication is a key component

During the time following a divorce – and the entirety of a child’s teen years – communication can be the last thing you want to engage in. This time, however, is the most important time to be in open and compassionate communication with your ex and child. Remember that you and your ex are now partners in raising your child; as such, focus communication around how to make the process of co-parenting more smooth. Consider the relationship one of the colleagues, and brainstorm ways to make co-parenting more streamlined and your teen’s emotional, mental, and physical health more robust.

If communication with your ex is difficult because of a trying divorce, remember the principles of Nonviolent Communication:

  1. Use “I” statements, sharing how you feel (I feel calmed…)
  2. Be specific about behaviors or actions that you perceive to be helpful or unhelpful to your capacity to support your teen the most effective possible (…when I see you take initiative on scheduling transportation.)
  3. Open up and let your ex know how you would like to feel (I would like to feel this calm regarding weekend visits…
  4. Make specific and measurable requests (…could you please suggest one specific time on Saturday mornings for a drop off each week?)

Ultimately, your former spouse and you are on the same team. Regardless of what has caused the separation, remember that you can come together to ensure the wellbeing of your teen at this important time in their growth and development into a kind, capable young adult.

Seek advice from an experienced Brick NJ Divorce, Custody, Support, and Family Law Attorney today

At Peter J. Bronzino, our attorneys support clients across Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey in their custody arrangements and the development of parenting time agreements.

To schedule a consultation with a member of our team regarding your co-parenting arrangement, please contact us online or through our Brick offices at (732) 812-3102.

Will my Retirement Account/401k/IRA be Protected in my Divorce?

Learn from an Ocean and Monmouth County Divorce Lawyer some strategies for maintaining your hard-earned savings when you legally separate from your partner.

Protecting your Retirement Savings during a DivorceThe divorce process is full of moving pieces that can wreak havoc on your physical, mental, and emotional health. Having a skilled divorce attorney can ensure that financial distress doesn’t have to be part of the separation, too. The separation of assets is a key piece of any divorce, and when you have been in a marriage for a substantial amount of time, the chances are that you will have a large 401 (k) as a marital asset. How do you protect your retirement savings from being taken in the divorce?

Determine how you would like to handle your divorce: in court or out of court in settlement

The direction you choose to take in your divorce proceedings will impact how you go about handling the division of assets and protecting your retirement savings. If you choose to go through the courts to finalize your division of assets, ensure that you properly and transparently report all assets. A judge who learns that a person has been hiding assets will likely rule in favor of awarding an amplified amount to the spouse.

If you and your spouse decide to settle the division of assets outside of court, the process will likely be more rapid and less costly. This is a great option for a couple who is still on amicable terms. Because the proceedings are not open to the public and driven by a New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part judge, a separating couple can experience a much more flexible process, in many ways setting their own rules. The finalized agreement is, of course, subject to approval by the court.

To ensure a just division of assets and the protection of retirement savings, it is imperative that you ensure a fair settlement and, if possible, not take cash, or lump sum, payout, as it is subject to steep penalties. At the end of it all, one who receives a lump sum ends up receiving much less money and, unless immediate cash is required, loses out on their fair share in the division of assets.

Be aware of your assets, including your retirement funds

Be aware of your assets, including your retirement fundsA divorce is a business transaction. While it is emotionally trying and exhausting physical, mental, and financial resources, it is ultimately a legal arrangement to determine who takes what in the split. As such, it is important to make sure that you are clear about what your marital assets and your shared debt are. It is also important to have a firm handle on what your personal assets are, as they may be taken into question during the course of the divorce proceedings. What was the balance of your retirement savings when you got married? What is it now? Taking the initiative to know this information will save you stress and potentially money in the long run.

Check your prenuptial agreement

All income added to a 401 (k) during the course of a marriage is considered a marital asset and is therefore considered to be shared with your spouse. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, the court will take responsibility for dividing the assets among spouses. However, if you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement, the court will rule based on the legally-binding agreements outlined within.

Be aware of the Qualified Domestic Relations Order

A spouse may take a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to their ex’s employer to ensure that they receive their fair share of the retirement account. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is a court-ordered document that enables the spouse’s retirement administrator to swiftly and legally transfer retirement funds into the partner’s bank account. The entitled amount will reflect a deduction if you have paid into your spouse’s retirement fund during the course of your marriage.

Attempting to hide or resist marital assets such as retirement funds to protect shared marital assets improperly is not worth it. Seek the support of a skilled and experienced divorce attorney to help you protect as much of your assets as you can while complying fully with New Jersey Divorce Law and avoiding lengthy and potentially costly litigation with your spouse.

Contact A Brick Retire Savings Attorney Today

Attorney Peter J. Bronzino is committed to serving our clients across Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Point Pleasant, Toms River, and the greater Ocean County area in all divorce and family law cases.

Our unique approach supports our clients’ financial well-being, leaving them to focus on their emotional and physical well-being as they move into the next chapter of their life.

To schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced member of our firm regarding your divorce case or settlement, please contact us online or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.

The Family Home and Divorce Lawyers Monmouth and Ocean County NJ

Helping divorce clients throughout Monmouth and Ocean County towns such as Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey

The Family Home and Divorce Lawyers Monmouth and Ocean County NJA divorce is a destabilizing event for all involved. In the case that the couple has children, that effect is amplified, as the emotional attachments developed in a home are difficult to let go of in the transition out of the traditional family structure. Because the home is likely the largest asset a couple shares, and its value is not only financial but also emotional, the decision about what to do with a home is a big one. Depending on the nature of the split and the relationship between the exes during the divorce, deciding what to do with the family home can cause emotional and financial upheaval that a divorce attorney can help mediate.

What do I need to keep in mind when I’m considering whether to keep the house in a divorce?

Even if it is mutually decided upon, there are many factors that need to be considered before stepping up to keep the home in a split. One of the most important – and yet most difficult – things to keep in mind is that all decisions regarding the division of assets would best be done objectively. For this reason, getting support for mediation is often a wise decision in the asset division process.

What is your reason for wanting to keep the home? If it is strictly emotional, it would be wise to take a full inventory of the pros and cons of keeping the home.

What are your financial capacities, and do the costs of house upkeep – including mortgage, insurance, property taxes, and repairs – make sole ownership of the home a worthy and sustainable investment?

What is the family’s financial position, and as such, what will be the interchange? What will you have to give up in order to get the home? It is unlikely that an ex will hand over the home without some interchange. Some common things you may need to be prepared to give up your rights to your ex’s pension or other marital assets like land, cars, or savings accounts and other equities. With the support of a divorce attorney, review your family’s finances in order to have a well founded view of what an even exchange would be for full ownership of the home.

Is home co-ownership an option?

Is home co-ownership an option?In a situation known as nesting, children stay in the family home and divorced parents take turns in the home with the child. This is especially effective for young children in order not to destabilize their routines, and for children who attend quality neighborhood schools. In some cases, one parent moves out of the home, but the couple continues to co-own the home so that their child can continue to attend school in the house’s school district.

Aside from the obvious benefit of providing a stable home for the children, there are financial benefits to co-ownership. First and foremost, there is no need to refinance the home. The financial upheaval of division of assets is, for this reason, somewhat tempered. However, one must take into clear account what it will mean to continue to be in a relationship with your ex in order to make a situation like nesting, or even co-ownership in the absence of one partner. A mature and communicative relationship is a necessity for any co-ownership agreement.

In the case that the couple decides to split their shared assets within the home, good communication and organization are key to ensuring that the property is distributed with discernment. Schedule a time to tour your home with your spouse to make a list of each shared item. One tactic is to record this list in a computer or technological advice so that you can add the items it is easy to split at the top. When the list is complete, this will allow for a conversation to easefully commence, separating items and appraising their value. Then move on to items that are more difficult to part with for each party. Don’t rush decision making. This could be a rolling process. The important thing is to approach joint decisions such as this one from a place of calm, collaboration, and objectivity.

Experienced Divorce Attorney Handling Amicable and Fair Separation

Peter J. Bronzino, our divorce attorney is experienced in supporting New Jersey couples across Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey in an amicable and fair separation.

Our unique approach focuses on ensuring that the financial and emotional needs of each partner in the split are met and that the family experiences as smooth a transition into their new lives as possible.

To speak with an experienced member of our firm about your divorce, please contact us online or through our Brick offices at (732) 812-3102.