Most divorce proceedings are difficult on both spouses. If children are involved, a divorce proceeding can be quite difficult on the family as a whole. Dissolving marriage is usually fraught with unpleasant emotions, including sadness at the termination of the relationship and financial anxiety over the future. If you are commencing the termination of your marriage, understanding how marital assets are divided during a divorce proceeding will help you to advocate for your future financial well-being.
New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. This means that a judge can use a number of subjective factors to determine how property is allocated during a divorce proceeding. In general, a judge will consider how long the marriage has lasted, each spouse’s contribution to the financial assets of the couple, the standard of living during the length of the marriage and the future earning potential of each spouse. In addition, a judge may also take into account the physical and mental health of each spouse and the personal and financial situation of each party at the time the divorce is finalized.
Non-marital property in New Jersey, as well as other equitable distribution states, is generally considered to be any property that either party brought into the marriage. This includes an inheritance bequeathed to either spouse or a gift received individually by either the husband or the wife prior to and/or during the course of the marriage. Additionally, a judgement awarded to either party for suffering and pain sustained from a personal injury is considered to be separate property.
Equitably dividing property obtained during the marriage can be quite complex. The equitable distribution of assets such as bank accounts, art work, real property, and retirement accounts can be challenging for a family judge. Many divorcing couples opt for a legally binding mediation settlement out of court, in order to maintain more control over the division of their assets. If you are commencing a divorce proceeding in New Jersey, it is highly recommended that you consult the advice of an experienced divorce attorney.
Source: Huffington Post, “Understanding How Assets Get Divided In Divorce“, Jeff Landers, June 14, 2013