One of the focal points of mediation during a New Jersey divorce is likely to be property division, although many couples use the process to determine all aspects of the process, including child custody matters and spousal support.
In preparing for mediation, per USA Today, it is a good idea for both spouses to know exactly what will be on the table when it comes to marital assets and debts, and what their individual priorities regarding these are.
FindLaw recommends taking a complete inventory of marital and separate property, as well as the couple’s debts.
The family home is usually the first on the list of assets, and a couple may also be quick to list a vacation home. Business property, rental properties and undeveloped land should be on the list, as well.
It is much easier to miss items on this list. Couples should catalog the following:
- Vehicles (including ATVs, recreational vehicles, boats, campers and others)
- Electronics (including computers, home office equipment, entertainment devices, etc.)
- Clothing and accessories (furs, jewelry and shoes)
- Collectables (firearms, coin and stamp collections, etc.)
- Home furnishings (antiques, artwork, china and crystal)
The couple may also have credit card points or frequent flyer miles that have value, burial plots and other unconventional assets.
Assets may come in a variety of forms beyond cash on hand and banking accounts. Pensions, 401(k) plans, IRAs, mutual funds, stocks and bonds may have specific rules for early withdrawal or division in divorce. Identifying the details for each of these may help couples to find creative ways to balance out the value of the assets. A couple may have set up revocable or irrevocable trusts and purchased life insurance policies, as well.
Couples should list mortgages, auto loans, credit card accounts, student loans and other debts, as these will need to be divided, and their distribution may affect the balance of the distribution of assets.