Morris County Lawyers handle “Gray Divorce” Cases
Recent studies show that 1 in 4 divorces involve people 50 and over. Moreover, a divorce in your 50’s has very different considerations than,a divorce in your 20’s, 30’s, or even 40’s. For example, while child custody, visitation, and child support are often a non-factors (children are already grown and past the age of financial support), other aspects such as alimony and especially equitable distribution can play a much more important and influential role because couples in their 50’s tend to have amassed more wealth. In today’s article, we will discuss “gray divorce”, why alimony and equitable distribution are often more complex in these types of divorces, and what can be done to ensure a fair, reasonable, and protected resolution to these issues.
Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark is a well equipped boutique family law firm located in Morristown, NJ. Our Morris County Divorce and Family Law attorneys have the experience to take on the most contentious divorce situations, and handle the critical issues that can arise in any divorce. The firm has built a solid reputation by helping countless clients from all walks of life. The legal team collectively has the knowledge and resources to fight to achieve positive outcomes for high profile individuals, high net worth couples, and business owners which are prevalent when working with individuals over 50 years of age in a “Gray Divorce”.
Equitable Distribution and Retirement Plans Chatham NJ
Division of retirement plans such as 401k’s is, in and of itself, are a complex and unique divorce issue. When it comes to 401k plans, courts take various factors into account when deciding if and how the plan should be divided.
Firstly, courts factor the duration of the marriage. Specifically, what was put into the retirement account during the marriage and by whom? Usually money put into a 401k before marriage is not subject to equitable distribution. Monies deposited into the 401k (either by an employer or by your spouse directly) during your marriage are factored for division. In New Jersey divorcing spouses are legaly entitled to up to fifty percent of what was put into the 401k during the marriage, meaning from the date of marriage until the date of the filing of the complaint for divorce.
Once this amount is finalized, the court will sign your judgment of divorce containing this information. It will then be the responsibility of your attorney to draft a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) that tells the administrator of your 401k how it should be divided in order to comply with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. A family court judge must then approve and sign the QDRO and the plan administrator must then also approve it. The QDRO will establish your spouse as an “alternate payee,” for your 401k.
Almost every type of retirement fund will penalize for early withdrawal, however certain types of retirement funds qualify for a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, which allows for penalty free withdrawal. It is important to work with experienced Chatham equitable distribution attorney in order to ascertain which retirement plans qualify, how to secure a QDRO, and the best ways to equitably divide retirement assets.
Open Duration Alimony Lawyers Mendham NJ
Another important consideration in a “gray divorce” is that of open duration alimony. In NJ, alimony can only be awarded for as many years following a divorce as the marriage itself lasted, unless the marriage lasted for 20 or more years. While not every gray divorce will involve a marriage of 20 or more years, many will.
If a marriage lasted for more than 20 years, financially dependent spouses can petition the court for open duration alimony. Open duration alimony will last until either party passes away or the dependent party remarries. However, if for any reason circumstances change substantially for either party after the open duration alimony agreement is reached, the agreement can be modified, either an increase in alimony obligations or a decrease can be ordered by the court, depending upon the circumstances. For this reason and others it is crucial to have an experienced and skilled Mendham attorney as your advocate.
Contact Our Morristown Gray Divorce Attorneys Today
Be it through litigation, mediation or collaborative divorce, the experienced and compassionate New Jersey divorce attorneys at Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, are fully prepared to safe-guard your interests and resolve your case effectively. We have built our solid reputation by passionately serving the communities of Morristown, Chester, Chatham, Mendham, Harding, Morris Township as well as others all over Morris County and surrounding areas.