New Jersey couples with complex investments may face some challenges if they get a divorce. These challenges could be even greater if one person has handled the majority of the finances. The other person may be at a disadvantage and should learn what the shared and individual assets are.
People who are concerned about a spouse taking an action with a joint account, such as making a withdrawal, may want to have the account frozen. Whether or not this is the case, individuals may want to consult with legal and financial professionals to be sure they understand their rights and the limitations around dividing and selling assets. For example, there may be capital gains taxes on the sale of some property. Other investments, such as annuities, could penalize investors who leave early.
There are certain steps that must be followed with retirement accounts as well. For an IRA, it might be necessary to give the divorce decree to the custodian. The money may then need to be rolled into new IRAs. For a 401(k) or a 403(b), the couple will need to have a document called a qualified domestic relations order to split the account. As a final step, after the divorce, people should review beneficiary designations on accounts and change them if necessary.
Because of the complexities of dividing some of these accounts, some couples may prefer to find other solutions. Division of property in a divorce in New Jersey is supposed to be equitable, but this does not necessarily mean that all the assets must be divided in half. A better solution for some couples may be for one person to take some assets and the other to take the remaining assets. For example, one person might keep the home, and the other might keep an investment account.