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Divorcing couples in New Jersey should use caution with assets

For those over 50 filing for divorce in Morris, there are concerns that may be overlooked. As a couple approaches retirement age, there might be accounts designed for use as future income that may not be obvious upon the initial search for dividable property.

Saving and planning for retirement throughout the working years, particularly in high asset households, may mean that there are many sources of income through property and investments or retirement accounts. These accounts could represent significant future security for one or both parties and must be considered for division within the divorce agreement. In most cases, all assets except inheritance and money held prior to marriage are to be divided regardless of whose name may be on the documents.

Couples over 50 who file for dissolution, now known as "gray divorce," typically consider their material and more obvious possessions when deciding who gets what. Sentimental value and daily living items often overshadow some of the more valuable assets, often allowing for one party to walk away with significantly more when it comes to future retirement income. About one third of those who divorce after 50 don't ask for a portion of their spouse's retirement income, though they are entitled to it in many cases. Many have expressed a regret that they simply didn't know that they could ask for it.

When a couple approaching retirement age decides to call it quits, an attorney may be helpful in pointing out assets that may not be visible to the parties divorcing. In the case of a high-asset divorce there may be many sources of future income to be divided.

Source: Forbes, "The Big Money Mistake Divorcing Women Make", Kerry Hannon, July 03, 2014

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