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Jennifer McCaskill
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Red Bank New Jersey Family Law Blog

High asset divorce can bring multiple surprises

For those in New Jersey who are preparing to divorce, it's important to know that the process may bring some unexpected twists and turns. Financial surprises are not uncommon in a high asset divorce, and can bring a great deal of turmoil to an already challenging process. The best way to avoid these disruption is to delve into the marital finances as early in the process as possible, preferably before filing. 

One of the most common financial surprises in any divorce occurs when one spouse is not aware of the full scope of debt that the couple holds. This usually happens when one party allows the other to handle the bulk of financial matters during the marriage. When the time comes for divorce, marital wealth may not be what a spouse assumed it was. 

What to consider when contemplating mediation

While going through a divorce, you and your spouse will have to negotiate. There are different ways you can go about a divorce and many couples are now choosing mediation as that option. Mediation is a method of alternative dispute resolution that is available during a divorce. This process involves a third party to facilitate negotiations in terms of the divorce.

Understanding how mediation works is an important step to deciding if it is for you. This is a quicker and less expensive option for couples going through a divorce. It is also an option that provides privacy during the divorce process. You can avoid facing a judge and you and your spouse can make a settlement in a confidential setting.

This high asset divorce turned particularly nasty

Bringing a marriage to a close can be stressful, and a degree of contention between parties is common. However, most New Jersey couples are able to go through their high asset divorce without taking actions they will later be ashamed of. Unfortunately, that's not always the case, as evidenced by this example of incredibly poor behavior during and after a high asset divorce.

Bill and Sue Gross were married for 32 years before going their separate ways. With a fortune of $2.5 billion to share, the parties spent years arguing over their settlement. In the end, they were able to reach agreements on how to divide their assets as well as their time with their beloved pets. 

The alimony tax deduction is coming to an end soon

It's never easy for New Jersey spouses to make the decision to end a marriage, but in some cases timing is an important consideration. For example, spouses who expect to pay alimony should think carefully about how a big change in tax laws could alter their tax bills in the years to come. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has eliminated the alimony tax deduction, which will affect the bottom line for many New Jersey spouses. 

The change doesn't go into effect until next year. That means that divorce cases that are finalized by the last day in 2018 will be grandfathered in under the current rules. That means that spouses paying alimony can claim those payments as deductions, and spouses receiving payments must claim them as taxable income. 

Health issues facing same-sex couples and divorce

According to researchers, divorce can have a negative impact on one's physical health. This is an important consideration regarding same-sex couples and divorce, and something that certainly deserves some serious attention. For those in New Jersey who are preparing to end a marriage, understanding why so many divorced people encounter health issues can make it easier to avoid that outcome.

Researchers found that individuals who have experienced divorce are more likely to smoke or have a sedentary lifestyle as compared to married people. Divorced study participants also reported a lower level of satisfaction with their lives than married respondents. This recent study joins a growing body of scientific inquiry that suggests that divorce can have a negative impact on one's health.

High asset divorce for Lauer after "Today" show departure

Many New Jersey residents are aware of the ongoing divorce between former television host Matt Lauer and his wife of 20 years, Annette Roque. The couple split following allegations against Lauer of inappropriate sexual behavior within his workplace. Those accusations also led to his departure from a lucrative position as longtime host of the "Today" show, as well as a high asset divorce.

The couple have weathered previous marital difficulties. Roque file for divorce in 2006, but withdrew that petition a mere three weeks later. Reports suggest she also considered divorce in 2014. It appears that the recent allegations of sexual improprieties became the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

Changing gender roles can impact alimony outcomes

According to researchers, one of the biggest risks to a marriage is a shift in traditional gender roles. Very often, those changes take place when the New Jersey spouse who was once financially dependent on his or her partner begins earning more. If one spouse starts to outearn the other, the change in marital dynamic can cause serious harm. If divorce is the eventual outcome, alimony may not be a cut-and-dried issue.

Researchers believe that one reason why these changes cause so much harm lies in expectations regarding work and family obligations. For example, if a wife stays home to raise the children and manage the household, the husband might assume responsibility for providing financial security. If the wife returns to work and starts making a good salary, there will be less time and energy to devote to household management. If the husband doesn't increase his contributions in that area, resentment can build. 

Jacksons settle their high asset divorce case

Many New Jersey residents are aware of the contentious divorce between former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Sandi Jackson. The couple made their private matters very public during the past two years as they fought over how their divorce would be handled. The parties recently reached a settlement in their high asset divorce

Since filing, both parties have tried to make allegations of infidelity a central issue in their divorce. Jesse Jackson Jr. tried to subpoena a former police official who is now attempting a mayoral run. Sandi Jackson tried to subpoena her husband's former travel companion, as well as owners of a strip club and bathhouse. Neither party was successful in those endeavors, but the moves certainly made headlines. 

Children going through divorce find comfort in routine

Children of families going through a divorce face upheaval on various fronts. One parent likely moved out or the child moved with a parent to a new home. Normal family time spent together changed to time spent shuttling between two homes. Along with numerous household changes emotions run high and tension abounds. During this period of uncertainty, routines provide a much needed sense of normalcy for the child.

A need for normalcy

Could Facebook become a focus in calculating alimony?

When it comes to matters of spousal support, New Jersey spouses should know that there is very little that is set in stone. Family law courts have the ability to create an alimony structure that serves the ends of each couple, as the court sees fit. That means that spouses should pay close attention to their actions as they near a divorce, including their online activities. Family law attorneys are now turning to Facebook and other social media sites for information and evidence that can be used in negotiating for property division, child custody and alimony.

Social media, and Facebook in particular, is a factor in many divorces due to the ease of making connections with people from one's past. A few innocent "likes" and messages can quickly turn into an emotional affair, which can then quickly turn into a physical affair. And that often turns into a divorce. 

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