A divorce can cause a lot of uncertainty and upheaval in a person’s life. You may be feeling emotionally drained or vulnerable from the process of separating your life from that of your partner. You may also be feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information coming your way. It can feel like there are millions of decisions that need to be made about your finances.
Merging your assets with another person is relatively easy. Separating your assets can be notoriously difficult. During a divorce and especially immediately after, you may need the help of a financial planner to get you back on track. Yet, if you and your partner have been planning your lives together with the help of an advisor, should you continue to rely on that person post-divorce?
At the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., we want to help answer this question and give you some guidance on when it may be necessary to re-think your financial strategy.
Why Having a Financial Planner Is Important
Planning for the future is never easy. Do you invest? Want to set up a college fund? Need retirement advice? Then a financial planner may be the answer. A financial planner can help you and your spouse plan ahead, manage your money, and stay financially responsible.
When you are going through a divorce, having a trusted financial planner on your side could be even more of an asset. This person can help you navigate paying bills, managing debt, and re-aligning your future goals without your spouse in the picture.
A financial planner may also be vital during a divorce because they often know how to locate all your marital assets. Many financial advisors are experienced in finding overlooked assets such as:
- Retirement accounts
- Insurance policies
- Real Estate
- Bank account holdings
- College savings accounts
- Family Heirlooms
When you are separating from your spouse, you deserve what is fair. A financial planner can provide your attorney with information about the assets that should be considered marital property and are eligible for division.
Is New Financial Planner Necessary After Divorce?
Finding a new financial planner post-divorce can be stressful. You want to feel secure about the direction your finances are headed. To find that sense of security, you want your money to be handled by someone you trust. While you may have a good relationship with your current financial planner, you should consider finding a new confidant following a divorce.
Why? The answer can be complicated. When working with a financial planner, you and your spouse are generally both involved in building a relationship with that person. However professional your planner can be, humans cannot avoid forming emotional attachments with one another. Emotional entanglements can result in a bias, even a subconscious one, that may influence how a financial planner treats you after a separation. What if your financial planner remains on excellent terms with your ex-spouse? Will your planner disclose your sensitive financial information to your ex? Will they actively sabotage your new investments?
Of course, these scenarios are extreme. This type of behavior would be unprofessional at best and unethical at worst. However, it can happen. When both partners remain with the same financial planner, it can cause a conflict of interest. To protect everyone involved, it is usually best to find a new financial planner, one with no connection to your partner. You need someone who can give you neutral advice.
Take the time to research financial advisors on your own and set up an appointment with a few different ones. When you find a planner that you feel comfortable working with, do not be afraid to talk about how your divorce has impacted your finances. Be honest about your needs and goals so your new advisor can carve a new path forward for you.
Connect with an Experienced Attorney
Divorce can be challenging. During the process, it can be easy to focus on the now and lose sight of the future. A skilled divorce attorney and a solid financial planner can help you stay on track and make the transition to the next phase of your life a little bit smoother.
At the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., our Monmouth County divorce lawyer wants to help you secure what is fair. Talk to a compassionate family law attorney today about your situation, and let’s forge a path forward together. You may be separating from your partner, but you don’t have to go through a divorce alone.
Call our office at (732) 898-2378 to set up a confidential legal consultation.
For many divorcing couples, their 401(k)s and other retirement accounts are usually some of their most valuable assets. Retirement accounts (or at least a portion of the value of those accounts) are considered part of a couple’s marital estate subject to distribution between the spouses in divorce. But due to the complex tax laws governing 401(k)s and other tax-advantaged retirement accounts, dividing these accounts in divorce often becomes one of the most difficult and contentious parts of any divorce proceeding.
How the Value in a 401(k) Is Split in a Divorce
Generally, all funds that spouses contribute to their 401(k) or other retirement accounts during their marriage are considered marital property and are subject to equitable distribution. For example, if you make $250,000 in contributions to your 401(k) during the period of your marriage, that $250,000 will likely be considered marital property. In addition, any growth in the value of the account during the marriage may also be considered marital property that can be equitably divided.
Unlike other states that use an equal distribution approach to dividing marital property, New Jersey uses an equitable distribution approach. This means that courts are not required to divide marital assets 50/50. Instead, courts will seek to divide the couple’s assets in a way that seems equitable, or fair. In deciding on a fair division, courts consider factors such as the respective financial situations of the spouses, each spouse’s earning capacity, the standard of living during the marriage, and the length of the marriage.
The Effect of Prenuptial/Divorce Settlement Agreements
Of course, spouses may decide to treat their 401(k)s and other retirement accounts differently from the standard equitable distribution rules. For example, spouses may execute a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage, or a marital settlement agreement immediately prior to or after filing for divorce. In this agreement, spouses may expressly waive any rights they may have under the law to the funds contained in their spouse’s retirement accounts. Or spouses may agree on how to divide their retirement funds, rather than letting the court decide what an equitable distribution would be.
Will You Have to Pay Your Ex Funds from Your 401(k)?
If your 401(k) or other retirement accounts are subjected to equitable distribution in divorce, does that automatically mean you will have to pay funds to your ex from your accounts? Not necessarily. If your and your ex’s retirement accounts have roughly similar values, you both may agree to simply keep your own accounts, or the court may rule that allowing you both to keep your own accounts achieves an equitable distribution of the marital estate.
But where one spouse earned significantly more or contributed more to their retirement accounts during the marriage, the court may decide that the other spouse is entitled to a portion of the value of that account. When that happens, funds will have to be paid from the account(s) of the higher-earning spouse. Of course, many types of tax-advantageous retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s, are subject to rules that prohibit the withdrawal of account funds prior to retirement or prior to the account holder reaching a certain age. Early withdrawals may make the account holder liable for penalties or significant taxes.
A spouse that receives a portion of their ex’s retirement accounts may take the funds in one of several ways:
- If the recipient spouse has their own 401(k), IRA, or another similar account, they may choose to directly roll over the funds they receive into their account. Doing so can ensure that neither you nor your spouse is held liable for any penalties or taxes for early withdrawal.
- The recipient spouse may choose to defer receiving any funds from the account until their ex retires.
- The recipient spouse can immediately cash out their portion of their ex’s account by taking a lump sum distribution. While penalties for early withdrawal may be avoided, the recipient spouse will still have to pay income taxes on that distribution.
If a portion of your 401(k) or other retirement accounts are distributed to your spouse in divorce, you will need a court order known as a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO to avoid the penalties and taxes that come with early withdrawals. The QDRO authorizes the administrator of your retirement plan to pay money to your spouse according to the terms of the order, without any penalty to you for withdrawal.
Contact Us for Help in Resolving Issues with Your Retirement Accounts During Divorce
If you are seeking a divorce and have questions about how your and your spouse’s 401(k)s and other retirement accounts will be divided in your divorce, call the Monmouth County divorce lawyers of the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. today at (732) 898-2378 or fill out the contact form on our website for a confidential consultation. An experienced divorce lawyer from our firm can help you understand your rights and options when dividing your retirement accounts during divorce.
Are you currently going through or thinking about filing for divorce in New Jersey? Are you wondering how marital property is divided by the court? New Jersey is an “equitable division” state, which means that the court will try to divide the marital property in a fair or equitable way, depending on the circumstances of the couple. This is an important aspect of a divorce and can be quite complex. The Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. has been dealing with property division issues in divorces for more than a decade. For help, call (732) 898-2378. You’ll talk with a knowledgeable divorce attorney who can make the difference between a good property settlement and a bad one.
Why You Need an Attorney to Help with Property Division in a Divorce
It is crucial to have an attorney who knows New Jersey divorce law and understands the nuances of how marital property is divided by the court. Whether negotiating a favorable agreement out of court or arguing before the court in a contested hearing, an experienced attorney knows what needs to be done to get the best outcome for you and how to do it.
An experienced attorney also knows the factors the court will be looking at to make its decision and which arguments will best cover each of them. Another important element in dividing marital property is establishing an accurate value for the property. Knowing how to present favorable evidence to the court regarding value is complicated. If you don’t have a skillful attorney to represent you, you’ll be at a huge disadvantage and are unlikely to get the property division you want in court.
Why Choose Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq.?
Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since 2008. Mr. Bestafka grew up in Monmouth County, New Jersey, so he knows the area and the people well. Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. has been named one of the ten best Family Law Attorneys in New Jersey by the American Institute of Family Law Lawyers. This award is prestigious and takes into account not only client satisfaction but also the respect of his peers in the legal profession. He also has served on the Family Law Committee for both the New Jersey State Bar Association and the Monmouth Bar Association. Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. and his associates take great pride in helping families through one of life’s most difficult challenges.
Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. fights to get the best outcome possible for each and every client. Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. is caring, compassionate, and attentive to the needs and wishes of their clients. Mr. Bestafka and his associates are experienced in family law and will help you get the best outcome possible under the law. Your financial future after your divorce will be significantly impacted by how the court divides marital property, so it is important to choose outstanding legal representation, such as Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq..
Factors in New Jersey Marital Property Division
New Jersey law directs the court to divide property “equitably.” This means your marital property may not be divided 50-50. The court’s decision depends on several factors. Two of the most important factors are the income and earning capacity of each party and who has primary custody of the children, if children are part of the divorce. The court also looks at how and when assets were acquired and the contribution of each spouse. This contribution can be financial, but it can also be household chores such as cleaning and cooking. New Jersey Courts also consider whether one spouse helped the other to get through school and earn a degree and if they may have delayed their own education in doing so. There are many other factors the court can consider that your attorney can discuss with you. The exact factors depend on your circumstances.
New Jersey honors pre-nuptial agreements, if one was executed prior to the filing of the divorce. A pre-nuptial agreement is a contract or agreement between the spouses that divides property ahead of time should the parties divorce at some point. If you have questions about pre-nuptial agreements, it is a good issue to bring up during your initial consultation with your attorney from Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq..
Marital property may include obvious things like cars and real estate, depending on when and how they were purchased. But it also includes such things as retirement accounts, investments, pets, and even frequent flyer miles and cryptocurrency. Your situation is unique, which is why there is flexibility built into the “equitable division” decision the judge makes.
If You Are Going Through a Divorce, Call Us
Division of marital property in a divorce is complicated, and it is very important to your financial future. Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. is an experienced, respected firm that will aggressively pursue the best financial outcome that New Jersey law allows in your case. Call (732) 898-2378 today to schedule an initial consultation and discuss your circumstances with us.
The divorce process is challenging enough for couples who are splitting up without the added difficulty of dividing sophisticated assets like cryptocurrency. Bitcoin has been breaking headlines in the news since the end of 2017 when each “coin” rose above the $20,000 mark for the first time. It has since dropped considerably in value, but the digital currency is still currently worth several thousands of dollars. The rapid expansion of Bitcoin’s value and popularity has proven how volatile the cryptocurrency market really is, and it has made the process of dividing assets during the divorce proceedings more complicated.
The central premise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is all about privacy. Bitcoin was one of the first cryptocurrencies to be implemented in 2009, and the courts are struggling to determine the best way to react to its impact. Although the SEC has recently announced plans to force online conversion platforms to register as security exchanges, more time is needed before the legal system can decide the best way to address the effects of this new technology. New Jersey is not a community property state, which means that marital property is divided by the judge in a manner that is considered to be fair, but not necessarily equal. Bitcoin investments may be considered marital property if the digital currency was purchased during the lifetime of the marriage. Currently, there is no existing case law to guide the court’s rulings in regards to cryptocurrencies, and new solutions will need to be applied to ensure justice for all.
Cryptographic Aspects of the Currency
The sad truth is that people often attempt to conceal their assets during a divorce. It’s no secret that people have illegally created fake accounts to hide money, transferred assets to family or friends, and even used safety deposit boxes to escape their financial obligations. These methods are well-known in the court system, and they usually backfire. However, Bitcoin represents a new challenge. The traditional method for ensuring that assets are divided fairly after a divorce ruling is to issue an injunction. An injunction compels the paying spouse to forfeit the property in question or pay the consequences. Although the courts can still require the spouse to reappear in court, defend their actions, and be held in contempt of court, there are other aspects of Bitcoin that legal professionals are concerned about. For instance, there is no central administrator to enforce the court’s injunction.
How Bitcoin Works
Bitcoin, along with other cryptocurrencies, operates in a system that is decentralized. Instead of transferring digital value through a trusted third-party, the wealth is exchanged directly between users. Transactions are not regulated by a state or federal government, and the information that is recorded does not contain personal identifiers. Without a centralized authority, users are largely anonymous (although not completely). Users are assigned a unique series of characters that are associated with their account, and every transaction is documented within the blockchain. It may not be as easy as following a traditional paper trail, but specialized forensic experts can uncover the truth and expose hidden assets.
Once Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies have been downloaded onto a computer, they can be stored offline on an encrypted USB, also known as a cryptocurrency wallet. This digital wallet can then be stored in a secret location, making it very difficult to trace. However, if there is a considerable amount of money invested in cryptocurrencies, then it is likely that both parties know the wallet exists. Drawing attention to the fact that your spouse is withholding assets that should be on the playing table will not look good for them.
The penalty for submitting false information to the court is severe, but some individuals still attempt to underreport or hide assets. Misrepresenting assets like as jewelry, cash, or Bitcoins may provoke a sharp response from the judge. The delinquent party may be given a smaller portion of the marital assets and face criminal charges, such as perjury. Another severe consequence for lying under oath is a loss of credibility, which can be haunting. With a lack of credibility, the judge may find it difficult to believe that child support or alimony payments are too high for a discredited spouse to afford. The judge may also find certain evidence questionable during child custody hearings, and they may be hesitant to trust anything you say after you have been caught trying to conceal assets. That is why it is crucial for both parties to work closely with their legal counsel and examine all the assets that are involved in the divorce settlement. It is not worth trying to hide or lie about Bitcoin or any other asset during the divorce.
Obtain Informed Legal Insight
Bitcoins are treated like any other asset during the divorce process, and that’s why you need someone on your side who can grasp the reality of virtual investments. The lack of familiarity with Bitcoin may intimidate some legal professionals, but we understand that cryptocurrency is just another phenomenon that the legal profession needs to adapt to. Not only do we represent clients who are dealing with cryptocurrency assets during a divorce, we also accept several cryptocurrencies as forms of payment. You do not want to trust a law firm that has little or no experience with handling these complex assets. You need to hire an attorney who has experience with cryptocurrency and who understands how to represent your best interest. Contact the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. today by calling (732) 898-2378 or visiting our website.
Flip or Flop star Tarek El Moussa is reportedly seeking a divorce from his wife, Christina El Moussa.
In their exclusive interview with PEOPLE last December, the couple revealed that they were ending their seven-year marriage after a heated fight in May 2016. Although the altercation did not involve physical violence, the Orange County police responded to the scene. A friend told the police that Mr. El Moussa grabbed a handgun during the fight. There were no charges filed.
Mr. El Moussa filed for a divorce in January, citing irreconcilable differences. He requested spousal support and joint custody of their children, one year-old son Brayden and a six year-old daughter Taylor.
If you or someone you know is having difficulty filing for a divorce, our lawyers can help. We at Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. are well-versed and skilled in divorce litigation and can properly represent you in court. Get in touch with us at (732) 898-2378 for more information.
Bill Ackman, a billionaire activist investor known for his big bets on Herbalife, and his landscape architect wife, Karen Ann Herskovitz, are headed down the path of divorce, Page Six says.
According to the report, the couple had been together for more than 20 years after they got married in 1994 at the St. Regis. Although it is yet to be determined if the two have filed a petition for the dissolution of their marriage, it was confirmed that they hired lawyers to help them come up with the best settlement that would minimize the impact on their three daughters.
The couple’s reported divorce could reach into the hundreds of million of dollars. They are negotiating numerous properties such as their $90 million One57 penthouse, $35 million Beresford apartment, $22 million Bridgehampton waterfront estate, and another $23.5 million mansion.
If you or someone you know is considering filing for a divorce, we can help you. Our divorce attorneys at Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. specialize in family law and can provide you a reliable representation in court. Get in touch with our staff at (732) 898-2378 to learn more about your options.
In China, marital strife seems to be on the rise as the annual divorce rate has doubled from last decade to 3.8 million couples. According to researchers at Peking University, 20% of men and women are unfaithful in their marriages—a number that has elevated in the last 30 years. Some economists attribute the change to an increased willingness from wealthy businessmen to put their own desires above familial obligation, a value that has decreased in significance since improved living standards have given way to financial freedom.
It is not uncommon for rich Chinese husbands— some that hold positions as prestigious as government officials and ministers—to keep a “second wife,” or a mistress that is financially provided for by their lover. Some portions of apartment complexes are even discretely reserved for these mistresses, whom are often provided a living allowance in exchange for sex and companionship.
Migration and social media has also allowed increased opportunities for couples to meet members of the opposite sex after marriage. Some couples do not even live in the same household, making it easier to engage in affairs. Surveys indicate that infidelity is the number one cause of marriages ending, making it no surprise that divorce rates have rocketed.
At Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., our Monmouth County divorce attorneys are well-versed in navigating the complex landscape of divorce, adoption, child support, and other cases of family law. If you are in need of legal services pertaining to these matters, don’t hesitate to contact our offices at (732) 898-2378 for more information.
Three years after TV reality star Khloe Kardashian first filed for divorce, a Los Angeles judge has approved the dissolution of her marriage with former NBA player Lamar Odom.
Although the decision was released last Friday, the court document states the couple’s marriage will be legally dissolved December 17, along with their joint company, Khlomar. Both Kardashian and Odom waived spousal support as part of their agreement.
Kardashian initially filed for divorce last December 2013, but she called it off when Odom was found unconscious in a Las Vegas brothel due to a drug and drinking binge. After the couple’s reconciliation, she filed another petition seeking to end their marriage. She cited “irreconcilable differences.” The two did not have any children but were married for more than four years.
If you or someone you know is going through a stressful divorce, get in touch with a reliable lawyer from the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq.. We have the skills and knowledge to properly represent you in court and protect your rights throughout the legal process. Contact us at (732) 898-2378 to learn more about our practice.
Many people have heard the statistic that in the United States, one in every two married couples will eventually get divorced. Contrary to the popular belief that millennials have the highest divorce rates, the root of the increase in divorce rates comes from the baby boomer generation as they reach retiring age.
“Silver divorces”—or divorces between individuals from around the retirement age—have a unique set of advantages and challenges that differ from divorces between younger couples. While child custody and support are likely not a concern for silver divorces, as children are usually grown and financially independent by this time, there are still financial and emotional concerns caused by asset division between splitting senior couples.
By the time couples reach retirement age, they have generally acquired a substantial amount of wealth and assets; often the most prominent of these is the home that they share. During a divorce, state law usually attempts to divvy assets in a way that is fair, equitable, and a close to an even split between two former spouses. However, this becomes slightly complicated during the division of a 401(k) or IRA for senior couples. This is because while each individual retiree’s income will likely stay the same after a divorce, each spouse will see higher retirement costs. Couples in the midst of a silver divorce are generally retired, or about to retire, and therefore have limited means of obtaining income. Researchers say in cases where dividing a home and 401(k) is not the best solution, a good way to combat this is entering into a reverse mortgage. In a reverse mortgage—reserved for those aged 62 and older—one spouse could receive the home and start a system where they pay income as long as they live in the home, while the other spouse can take the 401(k) account or IRA. Reverse mortgages do not require monthly payments and payments are only due when the last homeowner leaves the house.
The intricacies of divorce law can be a complex landscape. At Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., the adept divorce attorney can help guide you through this process and seek the best possible outcome for your impending divorce. Contact us at (732) 898-2378 to learn more.
In the state of New Jersey, it may not be required that a person seeking a divorce get the approval or even a response from their spouse. The resulting divorce proceedings are called a “divorce by default.”
For the divorce by default to continue, the plaintiff, otherwise understood as the person who filed for divorce, is required to give the correct papers to the defendant, their spouse. If there is no response within a 35-day period, then the plaintiff will have 60 days to submit a request to the court for a default judgment.
2 types of Default Divorce:
Default Divorce by Agreement: A default divorce is often a good option for people who have settled their differences and consulted separate lawyers already to avoid paying both the filing and answering paperwork fees.
Default Divorce without a Court Hearing: There are several places in New Jersey that do not require a court appearance as long as both spouses have made it clear that all required questions have been answered and a settlement has been reached.
If you’re seeking a divorce, it is often the best idea to contact an attorney to discuss your options and desires moving forward. Contact one of our divorce attorneys with Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. by calling (732) 898-2378 and we can potentially help you in your case.