Wouldn’t it be nice if divorce was simply “add up the assets and divide by two”? Well, no, because then family law attorneys would be out of business. The complications of equitable distribution of marital assets can take a lot of hours out of an attorney’s time unless the practice is using New Jersey matrimonial software like CIS to make these calculations easy.
The Balancing Act
Divorcing couples are often surprised by the concept of equitable over equal. Just because the couple has joint assets, that doesn’t mean that each person gets half. When looking at the overall value of property the goal is generally give each spouse 50% of the marital assets, but that gets complicated when you look at individual items. You can’t cut the car or the house in half, so when one spouse gets an indivisible asset some other asset has to come into play to balance it out. Before you list these distributions on the New Jersey CIS, you need to do the calculations to figure out what is fair.
This is further complicated by the fact that what’s yours and mine is not necessarily ours. Assets earned before the marriage began aren’t generally considered part of the settlement agreement, but they still need to be reported to avoid the impression of hiding assets. Clients are sometimes reluctant to report these items, afraid the ex is going to get them, which is why it is important for attorneys to impress on clients the need for full disclosure.
Partially Marital Assets
The real fun begins when you have possessions that could be considered both marital and non-marital assets. The wife owned a business before the couple was married but the business significantly appreciated in value over the course of the marriage. The husband has a 401k started long before he met the wife but has continued to contribute while they were married. You need Case Information Statement software that allows you to distribution only a portion of an asset, and distribute in a way that may seem unequal but is in fact equitable.
We’ve talked about assets but of course all of the above applies to debts as well.
Property settlement calculations don’t have to be a nightmare. Use CIS and Easy Soft’s other attorney practice management software to give you the tools you need to create effective and fair settlement packages for your clients.