If you have recently filed for divorce in a case that involves assets and property, you need experienced legal representation by a NJ divorce attorney.
Over the course of any marriage, spouses typically acquire property together, including homes, motor vehicles, income, stocks, bonds, and other assets. When a couple decides to divorce, each spouse is entitled to an equitable distribution of this marital property. A NJ divorce attorney can assist you with resolving marital property disputes, equitably distributing marital property, and drafting a long-standing marital settlement agreement.
What Is the Difference Between “Marital Property” and “Separate Property”?
Under NJ divorce law, spouses should try to achieve equitable distribution of marital property. Marital property refers to all property acquired over the course of a marriage. This includes gifts made between spouses – and even lottery or prize winnings.
In New Jersey, the law presumes that any property acquired by either spouse over the course a marriage is, in fact, marital property. Similarly, the law presumes that any debt acquired by either spouse over the course of a marriage is marital debt. This means that the spouses must share the debt upon divorce.
On the other hand, separate property refers to property acquired by one spouse before a marriage takes place or after a couple files for divorce. The most common examples of separate property include inheritances and gifts made by a family member to just one spouse before a marriage takes place. In some cases, separate property may become marital property. This happens if a spouse makes significant improvements which substantially increase the property’s value.
A NJ divorce attorney can help you to distinguish between marital property and separate property.
What Is Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets?
New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that the court tries to divide all property acquired over the course of the marriage as fairly as possible. In most divorce cases, the spouses decide how to divide the marital assets themselves. The court then memorializes the spouses’ agreement in a formal legal document. This document is called a “Marital Settlement Agreement,” which both spouses then sign.
If the spouses cannot decide how to divide their property equitably, then the court will make the decision for them. However, any NJ divorce attorney will tell you that when it comes to marital property distribution, the best results typically arise when the parties are able to come together and agree on how to divide the marital property themselves.
What Are the Most Common Factors That Affect Property Distribution Cases?
As with alimony and child support, New Jersey courts look to various factors in determining how to equitably distribute property in a New Jersey divorce case. The courts utilize the following factors most frequently:
- Length of the marriage
- Health of the spouses
- Age of the spouses
- Nature of the property each spouse brings to the marriage
- Income, education, training, experience, career, and earning capacity of each spouse
- Financial contributions made by one spouse to another spouse’s education or career
- Economic and non-economic contributions made by each spouse to the marriage
- Monetary value of all marital property
- Marital debts and liabilities, including home mortgage debt and student loan debt
The factors utilized by courts in deciding alimony and child support are similar. However, these legal issues are totally separate from marital property distribution.
Contact a NJ Divorce Attorney About Marital Property Distribution
If you have recently obtained (or are in the process of obtaining) a divorce in New Jersey, you are entitled to an equitable distribution of your marital property. In a divorce case, it is essential that you have legal representation. Speak to an experienced NJ divorce attorney as soon as possible by calling Andres Mejer Law at