New Jersey is one of many equitable distribution states. Equitable distribution means that the marital property of two spouses (or a spouse and a partner) are divided fairly, justly, and equitably. It means that the assets split in a divorce are not divided based on how they are titled. The assets are not automatically divided 50/50. In many equitable distribution disputes, one spouse is entitled to more than 50% of the marital property.
Equitable distribution – what is marital property?
Marital property generally includes all the assets spouses acquired during their marriage. These assets include the home the spouses live in, bank accounts, cars, and personal property. Marital property also includes any businesses either spouse developed or obtained an interest in – during the marriage. Marital property includes retirement benefits such as pensions and IRA accounts that were accumulated during the marriage. The division of assets in a divorce also includes the increase in value of any assets either spouse owned prior to getting married.
Our skilled marital assets lawyers understand all the assets that are part of an equitable distribution divorce including many marital assets people don’t think about such as frequent flyer miles, season tickets, the goodwill value of a business, stock options, family loans, intellectual property, and cemetery plots.
The equitable distribution of assets also includes the equitable distribution of any debts. For example, if a spouse has a gambling problem, then, generally, just that spouse should be liable for those debts. On the other hand, both spouses are normally liable for the mortgage.
What factors determine the equitable division of property?
There are many factors that determine the equitable division of marital property in New Jersey. These factors are set forth in the state statutes. Some of the many equitable distribution factors our seasoned divorce lawyers focus on include:
- How long the spouses were married or had a civil union.
- The age of the parties and their physical and emotional well-being.
- The property or income each part brought to the marriage/civil union.
- The standard of living of the couple.
- Prenuptial agreements can control the equitable distribution of the marital assets.
- The economic circumstances of the parties are a factor in divorce and property division
- The ability of each spouse/partner to earn a living – including their education, work skills, custodial responsibilities for children, and other equitable distribution factors.
- The contribution each spouse/partner made to the “education, training or earning power of the other.”
- The contribution of each spouse/partner to the “acquisition, dissipation, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, or the property acquired during the civil union as well as the contribution of a party as a homemaker.”
- The tax consequences.
- The current value of the marital property.
- “The need of a parent who has physical custody of a child to own or occupy the marital residence or residence shared by the partners in a civil union couple and to use or own the household effects.”
- Other equitable distribution factors.
Practical considerations when in the equitable distribution of marital property
Our respected New Jersey equitable division lawyers understand how to fight to ensure our clients obtain the best property division divorce settlement or award possible.
We methodically review each and every asset that you and your spouse/partner have an interest in. We examine how each asset is titled. Our lawyers work with financial experts and appraisers to properly value the assets and debts.
We prioritize your goals – which assets you want to keep and which assets you could live without – provided you got your fair share. In many equitable distribution cases, we negotiate agreements so that the primary custodial parent can keep the marital home so the children don’t have to change schools and can keep their friends. We help spouses obtain full value for their equitable interest in their spouse’s business.
We also explain the relationship between equitable distribution of marital assets, alimony, child custody, and child support.
At DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law, our family lawyers have been strong advocates for spouses and partners for 30 years. We fight to protect your financial security by ensuring that the equitable division of your marital assets and debts is as favorable economically and practically as possible. We often obtain settlements of the equitable division of property through negotiation, mediation, and collaborative divorce. To discuss your equitable distribution rights, call us at 908-691-2104 or complete our contact form to make an appointment. We have offices in Clinton and Florham Park.