New Jersey Divorce Attorneys Negotiate Equitable Distribution for You
We ensure that you receive a fair share of the marital property
As a married couple, each of you contributed to the family’s assets and debts. In New Jersey, equitable distribution is the process used by the New Jersey courts to effectuate a fair division of what you own and what you owe. This does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. Instead, the court, using its discretion, must consider 16 factors when deciding what is fair.
The New Jersey equitable distribution statute defines what is fair
In New Jersey, only marital property is subject to equitable distribution. The first step in the process is establishing which of your assets are marital and which are not. Generally, all assets and debts acquired during the marriage are marital.
Others, however, are nonmarital and thus are not subject to equitable distribution:
- Premarital property — Property owned by one of the spouses before the marriage generally is nonmarital property, unless the premarital property was commingled with marital property. Similarly, if marital assets are used for upkeep of a premarital asset, the premarital property can become marital property. Usually, this commingling occurs when one spouse pays the mortgage of a home owned by the other spouse with their shared funds or deposits of premarital money in a joint savings account.
- Gifts — Gifts from one spouse to the other during the marriage are marital assets — but those from a third party are typically not.
- Inheritances — Property inherited by one of the spouses is nonmarital property.
- Personal injury awards — Compensation obtained for physical or emotional pain and suffering is generally not subject to equitable distribution. However, other parts of the personal injury judgment may be considered marital property.
Unless there is an agreement made by the spouses, the court will determine what is marital property and how it will be distributed. Certain factors will be considered in distributing property and assets, including:
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marital estate
- The length of the marriage
- The value of each spouse’s separate property
- The relative financial positions of the parties after divorce
- Each spouse’s financial needs
- Whether either spouse wasted marital assets
- Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
- Child custody
- Tax consequences
At the law offices of Smith & Doran, P.C. in Morristown, NJ, equitable distribution means negotiating the best possible terms for you, our client, while ensuring compliance with the law. We work with you to identify your assets and liabilities. When necessary, we employ a network of financial experts who can calculate the true value of disputed assets, including a business.
Contact our AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® law firm to protect your equitable distribution rights
We have counseled clients throughout the divorce process since 1996. If you are seeking advice on equitable distribution, call us at [phone] or contact us online.
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