New Jersey residents and others may benefit from planning for a divorce before getting married or while married. Doing so may make it easier to protect assets from being divided in a divorce or being seized by creditors. Creditors may come after funds in a joint account if one spouse has unpaid debts or other liabilities. Therefore, it may be a good idea to keep funds in separate accounts.
Putting funds in separate accounts may also be ideal for estate planning purposes. An individual may have greater control over where assets go after death when held in a separate account. Even if a person trusts their spouse to leave assets to a child, a future spouse may not abide by that wish. In some cases, assets may be labeled separate property when they are received. For instance, an inheritance is generally considered property of the person who receives it.
However, if separate property is placed into a joint account, it may become joint property. The same may be true if joint funds are used to pay for or maintain separate property such as a house. Those who own real estate may also want to title it in their name only. Doing so may avoid scenarios in which relatives of that other person are named as beneficiaries to the property when he or she dies.
In a divorce, property may need to be divided between an individual and his or her spouse. This may include assets such as a house, money in a joint bank account or anything else that may have been owned during a marriage. An attorney may be able to review a case and help an individual come to a favorable settlement. This may involve receiving a larger share of marital property.