The rules regarding the division of a couple’s assets during a divorce vary from state to state. Community property states divide marital assets equally between the spouses regardless of their financial situations, but New Jersey is what is called an equitable distribution state. In New Jersey, the court will divide marital property in a manner that seems fair and reasonable.
Before making a decision regarding asset division, the court must first settle the matter of which assets are considered marital property and which assets are considered separate property. Generally speaking, assets acquired during the marriage will be considered marital property, and assets owned by either spouse prior to the marriage will be considered separate property. However, assets received as a gift or through inheritance may be considered separate property even if they were acquired during the marriage.
When deciding how to divide marital property, the court will consider how long a couple was married and how much each spouse contributed to the marriage. Close attention will also be paid to the financial position of each spouse. Additionally, the court will look at how old the spouses are and the conditions of their health as well as their standards of living.
An important step in the division of marital property in New Jersey is spouses reaching a consensus regarding the value of the marital assets. This is especially true for assets of high value such as a primary residence or other piece of real estate. A family law attorney will likely be aware that the perceived value of such assets may be out of touch with current market conditions, and they may be able to approach this delicate area in a way that helps prevent a contentious dispute developing between the parties involved.
Source: Findlaw, “New Jersey Marital Property Laws“, October 29, 2014