A frequently asked question we often get is “How much of my money does my spouse get in the divorce?” The property and debts portion of a divorce or legal separation is typically complicated. The risk of making a mistake is so significant that you should consult with an attorney before filing your papers, especially if you own anything valuable (or if you have significant debt)
Is it possible for my ex-husband or ex-wife to make a financial claim after the divorce?
Division of property rules vary quite a bit by state. Under New Hampshire law, the division of assets and debts is final and can’t normally been changed once the divorce decrees is made final. One exception could be if not all assets were properly disclosed to the opposing party during the divorce process. If one spouse hid or lied about accidents (or even accidentally forgot about them) then the entire divorce could be re-opened. Therefore, complete financial disclosure is extremely important.
While the division of assets can’t be revisited, under New Hampshire, alimony can be sought, changed or reduced for up to five years after the divorce is final. Whether it will be granted depends on numerous factors, some of which may include:
- If one spouse is now making much more or less money than originally anticipated
- If one spouse has had a material change in life circumstances that now require greater income, such as becoming disabled
- If one spouse has remarried,
Is it possible to protect my finances or future property against claims, and if so, how?
As discussed above, there is no ironclad way to prevent your ex-spouse from seeking more alimony in the future. You can reduce your risk, however, by trying to reach an agreement that states neither side will seek more alimony in the future regardless of any changes in circumstances. Such a clause may be viewed strictly by the courts, and your ex-spouse could still try for more money in the future, but it would make their changes of getting any much less likely.
As stated above, you should also make sure to disclose all assets such as real estate, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, cryptocurrency, previous metals, collectibles, and so on. Leaving an asset out, even by accident, could give your ex-spouse grounds to bring you back to court for more.
What assets can be divided in the event of a divorce?
Some state distinguish between “marital property”, which refers to property acquired by the couple during their marriage and “separate property”, which refers to property that you owned before your marriage or received as a gift from someone other than your spouse. New Hampshire doesn’t follow this distinction. Under New Hampshire law, all assets, regardless of when or how they were acquired, or how they are titled, are considered marital property subject to division. While the starting presumption is an equal division, the court can consider numerous factors in deviating from an equal split, including assets that were brought into the marriage, and assets acquired by inheritance or gift. For a good primer on New Hampshire division of assets rules, please see this article we have written.
In a divorce, how can I separate my finances?
Any shared bank accounts should be closed. Often is recommend that the accounts be split equally between the parties, although this advice varies depending on the circumstances. If you don’t already have an account, create one. Check your credit report from the three major credit agencies to see whether you have any joint credit cards or loans. Any joint credit lines should be closed. Eventually you also may need to divide the funds into your investment and retirement accounts, although this is usually not done until after the divorce. If you and your spouse share a home, decide who will keep it or sell it and split the revenues. You’ll need to refinance the loan if the house has a mortgage and you are allowed to exclusively keep it in your name.
How to split your property legally?
When you get divorced or legally separated, the court decides how to split the property. Even if you do not want to deal with these concerns or if you divided your property informally when you divorced, the court must still issue a formal decree.
This does not imply that you must resolve these difficulties before a judge. Couples can frequently share divide their assets (and obligations) through mutual agreement. When you get divorced, though, the judge must approve the deal. Until that time comes, all of your property effectively belongs to both of you, regardless of who uses or controls it. Debts are the same way.
Are you facing divorce and have the question, How much of my money does my spouse get in the divorce? If so, let our Concord, New Hampshire divorce attorneys help you navigate this complicated and emotional time.