White Collar Crimes in Public Eye

White collar crimes are typically those that involve non-violent offenses committed by people in the professional community and those holding high-level positions. They often have to do with fraud or theft crimes, in which a person uses their power to advantage. There has never been much sympathy for these types of crimes but a slew of new, public cases has people even more outraged. In these situations, it is important to have an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney on your side to avoid a criminal conviction along with the professional damage you are likely to face.  

 

Recent White Collar Crimes Make Headlines

According to a June 2019 report by the Huffington Post, legal proceedings continue for those involved in a college admissions scandal which made headlines earlier in the spring of this year. The public was outraged when it was reported that rich and famous actresses, fashion designers, and people throughout the professional community were accused of bribing college officials and committing other acts of fraud to get their children into high ranking universities.

The perception was that these people already had numerous privileges. The idea that they used their money and power to flaunt admissions policies, potentially depriving more worthy and qualified students from gaining entry, resulted in a massive outpouring of scorn. In addition to the potential criminal penalties all of those involved now face, their careers are in tatters and they have exposed their family members to public disgrace.

 

This is just one of several very public scandals to make headline news recently. Another involves the wealthy Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma who make the prescription drug Oxycontin. According to National Public Radio, the family now faces numerous lawsuits and potential criminal charges for deceptive marketing practices. They are being publicly blamed for pushing the drug that has resulted in so many accidental overdose deaths.

 

White Collar Crimes Now Focus on Privilege

White collar crimes have been traditionally centered around illegal stock market activity, Ponzi schemes, embezzlement, and other deceptive practices. These often occur among professionals at the corporate level. A May 2019 Forbes report states that white collar crimes typically include the following elements:

  • Pressure to obtain more money, property, or power;
  • Rationalization of certain types of practices, such as skimming money or misrepresenting facts;
  • Opportunity, in which lax federal regulations and an overall lack of oversight allow certain types of white collar crimes to occur.

While all of the recent cases include these elements, there is also a perceived factor of privilege among the alleged perpetrators. As a result, juries may be more inclined to ‘make an example’ of these people when handing out criminal penalties.

In terms of public trust and being able to return to their prior positions, this may prove more difficult, as well. In the past, being accused, convicted, and even serving a prison sentence for white collar crimes did not necessarily end your career. Think of Martha Stewart’s comeback after being released from jail for conspiracy, obstruction, and making false statements to federal investigators. For people charged and convicted in today’s contentious social climate, putting the past behind them may not be so easy.   

Let Our Middlesex County Criminal Defense Attorney Assist You

Make no mistake: White collar crimes are a serious matter which can have lasting ramifications for both you and your family members. At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. we provide the trusted guidance and aggressive legal representation you need in these situations. To discuss your case, call or contact our Milltown criminal defense attorney and request a consultation today.  

 

Harsh Tactics Your Spouse May Use During Divorce

Going through a divorce is not an easy process. Particularly if your spouse did not want a divorce, there are harsh tactics he or she may utilize to make the proceedings even more difficult for everyone involved. Our divorce attorneys can help protect you in these situations, but it is important to prepare yourself and to assess the potential risks.  

 

Ways Your Spouse Can Make Your Divorce More Difficult

The New Jersey Statutes provide legal guidelines to ensure the divorce process is fair and goes as smoothly as possible. However, harsh and aggressive actions your former spouse may take can result in time consuming and costly delays, while jeopardizing your well-being and your rights in certain situations. Three common areas in which this is likely to occur include:

 

Court Filings

If you are the one who files for a divorce, your spouse may refuse to cooperate. He or she may evade service of the divorce petition or refuse to comply with any court requests. If your spouse is served but does not respond to the petition, this can work in your favor. Provided there is evidence that he or she received the appropriate documents, an automatic judgement may be granted on your behalf.

Other harsh tactics include accusing you of improper acts, such as having an affair, and making fraudulent or frivolous legal filings. There are strict rules regarding such filings and your spouse can face serious penalties for attempting to interfere with court processes. These actions may also entitle you to a larger portion in your divorce settlement.

 

Division of Property and Assets

One of the most common actions taken by disgruntled spouses in divorce proceedings is draining all financial accounts or running up debts. Speak with our experienced Milltown divorce attorney immediately if you suspect this is happening. We can put the proper legal documents in place to protect you and help you get compensation for any losses through your divorce settlement or order.

Another common tactic is attempting to destroy, give away, or hide assets. A spouse may do this to avoid having to share them with you in marital property division proceedings. An investigation into your bank accounts, past tax returns, and Middlesex County property records can often help to determine if this is occurring.  

 

Children

Using children as a means of getting back at you for filing a divorce is unfortunately common. Your spouse may refuse to provide any child support until ordered to do so by the court. Even then, he or she may attempt to work under the table, hide income, or flat-out refuse to pay. The New Jersey Department of Human Services can aid in enforcement efforts. This includes garnishing wages, seizing money in their personal accounts, and suspending their driving privileges or professional license until the debt is paid.

Another common tactic is sabotaging child time sharing plans. Your spouse may be late to pick up the child for pre-arranged visits, cancel suddenly, or refuse to return them. Your spouse may also bad-mouth you to the children or attempt to turn them against you. In addition to jeopardizing his or her own parental rights, your spouse can face serious penalties for these types of actions. Our family law attorneys can guide you in the steps you need to take to stop or prevent this behavior.   

 

Our Middlesex County Divorce Attorney is Here to Help

When your spouse attempts to use harsh tactics against you during divorce proceedings, the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. provides the strong, professional legal representation you need to protect yourself. To discuss your options and how we can assist you, reach out and call or contact our Milltown divorce attorney online to request a consultation today.  

Questions Before Signing a Divorce Agreement

Decisions made during divorce proceedings can have a major impact on your future financial security. Getting the maximum amount you are entitled to in a divorce settlement should be a top priority. The following are questions to ask yourself during these negotiations and before signing any legal documents.

 

Issues to Consider Before Agreeing to a Divorce Settlement

 

In any divorce, there are decisions regarding division of marital property and assets which must be made. Under New Jersey Family Court rules, financial disclosures are used to list financial accounts, real estate, personal belongings, income, and other items of value.  

Negotiations will generally be held between the both of you and your attorneys to determine how to divide these assets in a way that is fair to everyone involved. Questions you need to ask yourself before considering any settlements include:

 

Did your spouse engage in marital misconduct?

 

Under Section 2A:34-2 of the New Jersey Statutes, divorce may be filed on the basis of irreconcilable differences. This is often referred to as a no-fault divorce. You may also be entitled to a divorce based on fault grounds related to actions your spouse took during the marriage. These include issues such as adultery, habitual drunkenness, domestic abuse, criminal activity, and abandonment.

All of these activities create hardships in your marriage which jeopardize your financial security. If your divorce is filed on the basis of these grounds, it may entitle you to a larger portion in a settlement.

 

Are you being compensated for the sacrifices you made during the marriage?

 

It is not uncommon in a marriage for one spouse to sacrifice his or her own career for the sake of supporting the partner or to take care of children. In this case, you may be entitled to spousal support or alimony. This can help you to get the skills you need to re-enter the workforce and can ensure you are financially provided for while you get back on your feet.

 

Do you have children that need to be taken care of?

 

Child support payments are meant to provide for the care and support of children of your marriage. These payments are based on both parents’ income and the amount of time the children spend in each one’s home. However, your child’s age or stage of development may require you to remain home with them, rather than returning to the workforce. In this case, you may be entitled to spousal support or a greater portion of property and assets in your settlement.

 

Are there any assets you spouse may be hiding?

 

According to Forbes, it is common for spouses to hide assets during divorce to avoid having to divide them in any resulting settlement or divorce order. If you suspect this may be an issue, discuss it right away with your divorce attorney.

We can check bank statements, past filed tax returns, property records, and other documents to uncover these assets. Even if you have already signed a settlement or an order was issued in your case, we may be able to go back to court based on new evidence.

Get Trusted Legal Guidance From Our Middlesex County Divorce Attorney

 

At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we provide the trusted legal guidance you need when going through a divorce. We review all aspects of your case, taking the appropriate actions so that you can get the maximum amount you are entitled to in your divorce order. Contact our Milltown divorce attorney online today and request a consultation.

 

 

Five Items That Often Get Overlooked in Wills and Other Estate Planning Document

Having estate planning documents in place, such as a will, living will, and powers of attorney, helps to protect you and your loved ones when the unexpected occurs. A surprising number of people tend to put off this task until it is too late, however. Among those who do have a will, it is not uncommon for people to overlook important issues and assets. This could end up creating confusion and costly delays, impacting those you care about for years into the future. The following are five items to discuss with your family law attorney, so they can be included in your estate plan.

Include These Items When Creating Your Will

When a person passes in Milltown, their estate must be settled in Middlesex County Surrogate’s Court. If you do not have a will in place at the time of your death, it subjects your property and assets to complex laws and jeopardizes inheritance rights of your family and friends.  

Even if you have a will, leaving important items out creates problems and costly delays. The following are five items people often forget to include:

  • Alternate estate representatives and beneficiaries: When creating your will, you must list all beneficiaries of the property and assets you possess. You will also need to name someone as estate administrator, who will act as your personal representative in probate court. Provide alternates in the event they pass before you or are otherwise incapacitated. The same is true when creating powers of attorney.
  • A list of digital assets: Despite the amount of personal and business activities that occur online, Forbes advises that people often forget digital assets in their wills. These include websites, online businesses, income streams, and financial accounts. Be sure to list these along with social media accounts, usernames, and passwords in your will.
  • Instructions for personal belongings: People focus on items of financial value in creating a will, such as homes, cars, and financial accounts. However, other items can have personal value and meaning to loved ones and should also be addressed. List those that may be considered important to your family or friends, such as books, old photographs, inherited jewelry, or household belongings.
  • Provisions for older adults: Many of us have older adults we provide care for. Be sure and mention them in your estate planning documents. If it is personal services, such as calling on them regularly or taking them to doctor appointments, you may request someone you know complete these tasks. If you provide financial support or anticipate doing so in the future, consider allocating these funds through your will.
  • Provisions for pets: Pets are an important part of the family and you want to ensure they are provided for in the event you are unable to care for them yourself. Include them in your will and with your powers of attorney. Find someone in advance who will agree to take responsibility for them in the event of your death or if you become incapacitated. Make provisions so that this person will have the funds they need for food, veterinary care, and potential boarding costs.

Speak With Our Middlesex County Family Law Attorney

To ensure your will includes the above items and that other appropriate estate planning documents are in place, reach out to the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. To speak with our Milltown family law attorney, call or contact our office online and request a consultation today.

 

Behaviors That Could Jeopardize Your Rights in Child Custody Proceedings

As a parent, the prospect of child custody proceedings can fill you with a sense of dread. There are behaviors on your part that can impact these proceedings, putting your parental rights in jeopardy. While you cannot change the past, you can show the court that you are a reasonable adult capable of putting your child’s best interests above your own.

Past Actions That Could Threaten Your Right to Custody

Things happen in life that can cause otherwise good people to get caught up in bad situations. Unfortunately, even if you have put the past behind you, having a checkered background could have an impact on your child custody rights today.

Under the New Jersey Statutes, there are numerous issues the judge will consider when determining child custody and visitation arrangements. This includes both the parent’s current and prior relationship with the child and their ability to provide the love, nurturing, and support the child needs. While the court generally encourages child time-sharing arrangements that allow both parents to be active and involved in the child’s life, there are past behaviors that can impact your rights in these proceedings. These include:

  • Criminal activity: If you have a history of criminal activity, past arrests, or associations with others who have a criminal record, it could limit your rights to child custody and visitation.
  • Drug or alcohol problems: The court’s primary concern is protecting the child’s health and well being. Parents who have a history of drug or alcohol problems and who have not received treatment are less likely to be trusted by the court with the child’s safety.
  • Abandonment: If you went periods of time where you were not a part of the child’s life, you will need to slowly regain the child’s (and the court’s) trust.
  • Domestic violence: A history of domestic violence, either against the other parent or in other relationships, will work against you in child custody proceedings.
  • Child abuse: If you have ever been charged or investigated for child abuse in the past, your parental rights could be in jeopardy.

While it can be discouraging to have past bad behavior come back to haunt you today, there is hope. Provided you have complied with any court orders, paid fines or other penalties, sought treatment, or have other tangible proof you can point to that you have changed your behavior, the judge may still allow you to take part in any parenting plans made.

 

Behaviors to Avoid in Child Custody Proceedings

In addition to past actions, there are behaviors you can engage in currently during child time-sharing proceedings that can cast you in an unfavorable light. These include:

  • Being late or unprepared for hearings: While unexpected events do crop up, being chronically late and not working with your attorney can negatively impact you.
  • Losing your temper with the other parent or the judge: A judge may find you in contempt of court for this type of behavior.
  • Refusing to cooperate in creating a parenting plan: The New Jersey Courts require parents to submit a parenting plan in child custody cases. Not being willing to negotiate with the other party will work against you.
  • Refusing to abide by the terms of custody agreements: Once a court order is issued, it must be obeyed. Failure to do so could jeopardize your rights and may result in your arrest.

Get Our Middlesex County Child Custody Attorney on Your Side

 

To protect your rights as a parent in child custody hearings, get the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. on your side. Call or contact our Milltown family law attorney online to request a consultation today.

Self-Defense: When the Use of Force is Justified in Protecting Yourself and Others

When dealing with criminal charges in New jersey, self defense is one of the most common types of legal defenses. While you may have felt the need to take certain actions to protect yourself, others, or your property, you could still find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Charges such as assault and battery or weapons offenses are a serious matter in our state and could result in harsh penalties, including a jail sentence. In addition to a conviction and a criminal record that will follow you the rest of your life, you could also face civil liability for any injuries that result. The following outlines what you need to know about self-defense as a legal strategy and whether it applies in your particular situation.

When Self-Defense Applies in Criminal Cases

 

In cases involving people charged with different types of physical assaults, one of the first claims they make is often that they acted in self-defense. While this may have been your motivation in a particular situation, it has to meet strict criteria to be accepted as a legal defense against criminal charges in a court of law. Under Section 2C:3-4 of the New Jersey Statutes, the use of force is justifiable in cases where it is immediately necessary to protect yourself against unlawful force being used by another person against you. Examples of this type of situation include:

  • When someone has pushed, shoved, punched, or taken some action against you and is threatening to continue the behavior;
  • Whensomeone has a weapon, such as a gun, bat, pipe, or other object, which they are threatening to use against you;
  • When you are a victim of a crime, such as a mugging or sexual assault, and the use of force is required to keep the situation from escalating further.

Situations in which the use of force is not justified include when you are trespassing on another’s property and they are attempting to get you to leave, when you have been forcibly removed from someone’s property or establishment and are attempting to reenter, and when you are being placed under arrest or being detained by law enforcement officers.

 

New Jersey ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws

There is a classic scene in many movies when the hero uses force to defend his or her property against trespassers, vandals, thieves, or those who would otherwise cause harm. The actor may even go so far as to taunt the intruder, ala Clint Eastwood, to “Make my day.” In real life, there is a fine line between taking needed actions to defend yourself and committing a criminal offense. Known by attorneys as the castle doctrine and often referred to as ‘stand your ground’ laws, they apply only in limited situations.

According to the National Council of State Legislators (NCLS), nearly half the states in the U.S. have stand your ground laws which do not require you to retreat if someone is trespassing on your property. However, New Jersey is not one of those states. The law requires that you must retreat from an attacker and may only use force if it is necessary, reasonable, and in proportion to an imminent attack. The same goes for defending another person who is being threatened. Automatically lashing out and taking actions against the offender could result in criminal charges and a civil lawsuit.

Let Our Middlesex County Criminal Attorney Help You Build a Strong Defense

 

At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we will thoroughly review all aspects of your case in order to build a strong, effective legal defense. To request a consultation, call or contact our Milltown criminal defense attorney online today.

Five Times You Need to Update Your Will

Having a legally valid will in place helps ensure that your final wishes are communicated to loved ones and allows you to designate who will inherit from your estate. If you have not taken the time to create a will, this important task should be at the top of your list. However, a will is not something to do once and forget. There are numerous reasons why you may want to update it over the years. In addition to reflecting the current state of your finances and the property you own, it should also reflect any changes in your family situation.

The Importance of Having a Will and Updating it Regularly

According to surveys from the American Association of Retired People (AARP), more than 60% of U.S. adults do not have a will or other important estate planning documents in place. In addition to providing an inventory of the property and assets you own, your will can convey how you want your estate to be handled and how distributions to friends, family, or charities should be made. It can also include provisions for the care of dependants, such as children or pets.

While many people attempt ‘do it yourself’ wills, these often contain errors and may not comply with New Jersey state laws. As a result, they can be easily contested. To protect yourself, it is important to consult with an attorney who is experienced in all aspects of estate planning. However, even once a legally valid will is in place, it still needs to be updated regularly.  It should reflect any changes in the amount of property and assets you own, as well as any changes that have occurred within your family since it was created.

How Family Matters Impact Your Will

When you pass away, your estate must be settled through a branch of the New Jersey surrogate court, depending on the county in which you reside. If you die without a will in place, this is known as dying intestate. Your property will be distributed according to state law, rather than your wishes. It could exclude certain important people while costing your loved ones both time and money.

If you do have a will but it is not properly updated to reflect your current family situation, it could also end up causing delays and disputes. To avoid this situation, make sure your will reflects the following:

  • Births: While children have basic inheritance rights when it comes to their parents, specify your wishes regarding them and any stepchildren, grandchildren, or even nieces and nephews you wish to inherit.
  • Deaths: If you leave money or property to a loved one who eventually passes, his or her share will go to his or her children. If you would rather that money be redistributed among other beneficiaries, specify this in your will.
  • Marriages: As spouses also have automatic inheritance rights, this is an important issue to address among beneficiaries.
  • Separation or Divorce: While you are separated, your spouse still has automatic inheritance rights. However, once divorced, this is no longer the case. If you wish to leave them something, you will need to specify that.
  • Health Issues: If a beneficiary suffers an illness, injury, or mental health problem, it may be wiser to leave that person money in a trust instead.

 

Reach Out to Our Middlesex County Family Law Attorney

 

At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we provide the legal guidance you need when creating a will or when making changes to reflect your current situation. Reach out and contact our Milltown estate planning attorney today to request a consultation.

Legal Options to Protect You Against Domestic Violence

Domestic violence involves any type of physical, sexual, emotional, or financial abuse that occurs with someone you live with, are dating, or with whom you share a child. While it may start small, with occasional angry outbursts, disrespectful behavior, or stinging comments, it can quickly escalate to a potentially life-threatening situation. Our experienced New Jersey family law attorney can help domestic violence sufferers get the protection they need. The following outlines some of the options available.

Obtaining a Restraining Order

Domestic violence consists of any type of abusive behavior that occurs within a relationship. It is often used by perpetrators to exert power or control over a partner. It can consist of acts of physical violence against you, family members, or even pets, as well as threats, harassment,  blame, and intimidation tactics. It may involve isolating you in your home, keeping you from access to money or services, and destroying your property. According to the New Jersey State Police (NJSP), all of these actions fall under state criminal laws and can result in the immediate arrest of the person involved.  

It is important to realize that when domestic violence occurs in a relationship, the situation almost always gets worse in time. Put downs and threats can quickly escalate to the point of being life threatening. To protect yourself, it is important to take the steps needed to create distance between you and your offender and to take legal action to keep them from contacting you in the future. The NJSP advises that while there are support services for domestic violence victims throughout the state that can prove helpful, a temporary restraining order (TRO) may be your best course of action to protect yourself. Depending on the circumstances, a TRO may be obtained from the Family Court and can prevent the accused from doing the following:

  • Returning to your home, school, work, or other locations;
  • Contacting you by phone, by U.S. mail, or by email;
  • Contacting you through other people, such as friends or family members;
  • Possessing firearms or other weapons which could pose a threat.

A TRO can also give you the rights to certain property, such as a home or vehicle, while requiring the offender to pay child and spousal support. If the offender violates the TRO in any way, he or she will be subject to immediate arrest and criminal contempt charges.  

Protection in Emergency Situations

If you feel your spouse or significant other poses an immediate threat, you should call the police.

The New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice advises that under the New Jersey Domestic Violence Prevention Act, officers must arrest a suspect and sign a complaint against them if a victim of domestic violence has any obvious signs of abuse, such as cuts, scratches, or bruising.  

Even if there are no outward signs of injury, police may make an arrest if there are other circumstances that indicate domestic violence has occurred, such as broken furnishings or holes in walls. In this situation, you may be able to obtain a TRO without going to court. The officer will take a statement from you at the scene and can contact a judge to authorize the TRO via telephone, radio dispatch, or other electronic means.

Let Our Middlesex County Family Law Attorney Help You

When domestic violence occurs, there is help available. At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we can guide you through the legal process while taking the steps needed to protect your safety. Contact our Milltown domestic violence attorney today and request a confidential consultation to discuss the options in your situation.  

Protecting Your Child Against Juvenile Charges

Milltown Juvenile Defense Attorney

Parents do their best to instill strong values in their children. Unfortunately, running with the wrong crowd, making an error in judgment, or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time could put your children on the wrong side of the law. While juvenile charges are handled differently than adult charges, they are still a serious matter that could have long-lasting effects on your entire family. If you are the parent of a young person charged with a crime, the following outlines what you need to know and how to protect them in the juvenile justice system.

What to Expect When Your Child is Charged With a Crime

There are special rules that govern how children under the age of 18 are treated when they face criminal charges. In criminal matters concerning adults, the focus is more on the penalties they face upon conviction. With juvenile crimes, the focus is more on rehabilitation and keeping them from committing acts outside of the law in the future. Common types of crimes committed by young people include:

  • School truancy;
  • Trespassing;
  • Vandalism;
  • Shoplifting and other minor theft offenses;
  • Getting into fights/minor assaults;
  • Sexual assault or harassment;
  • Drug and alcohol related charges;
  • Traffic offenses.

In New Jersey, the Juvenile Justice Commision (JCC) overseas cases involving youthful offenders. Rather than being officially charged with a crime, a delinquency complaint is filed against them. Instead of presenting their case at a formal court trial involving a judge or a jury, their cases are generally adjudicated. This means that agreements on possible punishments/treatments will be negotiated among JCC officials, the police, and the attorney involved.

In cases of more serious crimes, their charges may be referred to the Family Court. Again, there is no jury trial. Instead, the issue is typically resolved through plea bargains and negotiations. Penalties your child is likely to face include fines, probation, mandatory community service, and attendance at counseling or treatment programs. In cases of violent crimes or repeat offenders, your child may be removed from your home and held at a juvenile detention center. While it bears little resemblance to an adult jail, it is still a sparse, highly restrictive environment. Furthermore, any time you get to spend with your child will be limited.

 

Providing the Help Your Child Needs

One of the most important steps you can take in protecting your child is to get an experienced juvenile defense attorney on his or her side. We can negotiate with law enforcement officials and JCC administrators to help reduce the penalties your child faces and increase the likelihood of him or her remaining in your home. Additional ways you can help in this situation include:

  • Take a proactive approach by getting your child involved in treatment or community service prior to a court order.
  • Get written statements from family and community, attesting to the child’s character and contributions to the family and society.
  • Enforce penalties at home, such as tight curfews and limited phone or driving privileges to prevent your child from getting into additional trouble.
  • Talk to your child about the seriousness of the situation and the impact it can have on the rest of his or her life.

Juvenile arrest records will not remain a part of your child’s permanent record. However, they may still be visible to schools and certain state or federal agencies. Once they have completed all court requirements, you may apply to have their record expunged through the Department of Corrections.

 

Our Middlesex County Criminal Defense Attorney is Here to Help 

 

Do not let a minor offense derail your child’s future. Contact our Milltown juvenile defense attorney and request a consultation to get the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. fighting on your side.

Milltown Juvenile Defense Attorney

Important Assets That Often Go Undetected in Divorce Proceedings

Marital property and asset division plays an important role in divorce proceedings. Decisions made have the potential to impact you, your financial security, and your ability to recover in the months and years to come. It is important to get legal guidance in regards to these matters from an experienced Milltown divorce attorney before signing any documents or entering into any agreements. This can help prevent potentially valuable assets from being overlooked or not included as part of your settlement.

 

Dividing Marital Assets in Your Divorce

 

Under New Jersey’s divorce statutes, any property and assets earned, acquired, or otherwise accumulated during your marriage are subject to equitable distribution. In determining who gets what in your divorce settlement, factors that will likely influence the judge’s decision include the length of the marriage, each person’s individual income and assets, and their contributions during the time they were together. One of the first steps in reaching an equitable agreement is providing a complete inventory of all assets and property you possess. This includes:

 

  • Real estate;
  • Motor vehicles;
  • Household items;
  • Personal belongings;
  • Bank accounts and investments.

 

To ensure all of these assets are included, our attorney will carefully guide you in completing an inventory. While obvious items, such as homes, cars, and savings accounts, maybe the first thing on your list, there may be important and valuable items you overlook.

 

Marital Assets You May Overlook

 

With so much to consider when going through a divorce, it is understandable to forget certain items when creating a marital property inventory or to overlook their value. Unfortunately, this could have a major impact on both your current and future financial security. Getting the maximum amount you are entitled to in your settlement plays an important role in divorce recovery. The following are common types of items that are often overlooked:

 

  • Vacation homes and timeshares: These are classified under real estate. You may be able to negotiate terms of use, have one spouse buy the other out, or sell the property and split the proceeds.
  • Country club memberships: While subject to equitable distribution in divorce proceedings, country club memberships cannot be divided. This means that if your spouse keeps the membership, he or she will need to pay you the value of your share.
  • Antiques: Items that were handed down from other relatives or picked up in yard sales may have increased considerably in value. Be sure and have these items appraised before listing them in your inventory.
  • Collectibles: These can also increase considerably in value. Check current market values on sites such as eBay and consider what they might be worth in the future.
  • Recreational or hobby items: Your spouse may have spent considerable amounts of money investing in recreational items. Such as vehicles, hobby equipment, or craft supplies over your marriage. You are entitled to a fair share of these items.
  • Burial plots: If you made estate plans, they may have included burial plots and pre-paid funeral expenses. Check the value of these items and make the necessary changes.
  • Business assets: If your spouse owns a business, you may be entitled to a portion of the profits. Along with the value of any inventory, or reimbursement for unpaid labor and intellectual property.
  • Retirement funds: These are among the most overlooked marital assets. Be sure to include funds you may be entitled to from your spouse’s past employers, as well.

 

Get Professional Legal Guidance From Our Middlesex County Divorce Attorney

 

The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. provides the trusted legal guidance you need when going through divorce proceedings. To discuss your options, call or contact our Milltown marital property division attorney and request a consultation today.

 

Divorce Assets

 Call ( 732) 297-8200 or Text Jordan