The division of assets is by far one of the most emotional and complex issues addressed in a New Jersey divorce – and it is one of the most widely misunderstood. If you are going through a divorce case, you should have a skilled family law attorney by your side to guide you through the process and protect your best interests. In addition, you need to educate yourself on how property is divided so you know what to expect.
New Jersey is an Equitable Distribution State
Like most states, New Jersey adopted the equitable distribution policies for its divorce cases. That means that all marital property, which is property acquired during the marriage, is divided equally or in the fairest possible way. Marital property can be acquired by both or just one spouse, but if it was acquired during the marriage, it automatically qualifies for equitable distribution. Property assumed before the marriage, however, does not qualify for equitable distribution.
How Physical Property is Divided Using Equitable Distribution
Equitable doesn’t always mean split in half. “Fair” is a loosely used term by the courts and there are numerous ways a judge can determine what is fair – whether that means a 30/70 split or even a 20/80 split of assets. Also, division of assets doesn’t necessarily mean a physical division; after all, you cannot physically split a home. Instead, the courts will award each spouse a percentage of the value of the property and each spouse gets his or her value’s worth from that asset.
With assets and earnings, two-thirds of the assets will go to the higher wage earner, while the other third goes to the spouse. This is how the courts determine that earnings are equally distributed.
Marital versus Non-Marital Property – How Can You Tell?
Determining marital versus non-marital property is not as straightforward as people may think. To determine what a “marital” asset is, the courts will consider the following:
* Marital Property – This was acquired after the marriage using earnings made during the marriage. For example, one spouse purchased a home using their earnings for that year, and was married during that year.
* Non-Marital Property – This is property clearly purchased before the marriage or an inherited piece of property specifically given to one spouse. Property purchased with separate funds from one spouse can also remain their private property. If a spouse owns a business and started it prior to the marriage, it remains their property regardless if the other spouse began contributing after the marriage.
Need Assistance Dividing Your Marital Assets? Contact Romanowski Law Offices
The division of assets is confusing, and if you leave it up to the courts, you may find that “fair” doesn’t always apply. It is best that you and your spouse come to an agreement rather than leave it up to the family court judge. The attorneys at Romanowski Law Offices can help do just that. Contact us now at 732-603-8585 for an expert consultation or fill out an online contact form to learn more.