Division of Assets in New Jersey
Divorces are often difficult processes that require great patience of time from the spouses involved. Throughout the proceedings, they are required to settle many different legal matters regarding their futures in order to split. When two spouses are together for a long period of time, their lives are often intertwined in numerous ways. It is because of this that it can very difficult to separate them.
Part of divorce proceedings is to divide a couple’s assets between the two of them. There are some cases in which spouses are able to do so themselves without the assistance of the court. In other situations, a couple may disagree about which assets belong to whom. When this happens, they may need to go to court to have a judge determine the division for them.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
If a couple decides to go to court to divide their assets, a judge will make all decisions regarding this matter for them. In doing so, the judge is required to determine which of the couple’s assets are marital property and which are separate property. The differences between the two are as follows:
- Marital Property: This includes any assets and debts that were acquired during the couple’s marriage. This can also be in regard to any properties from before the marriage that was converted into marital property at any point during the marriage
- Separate Property: This includes all assets and debts that were acquired before the marriage and agreed to stay separated throughout the duration of their marriage. This may also cover other properties, gifts, and inheritance
When spouses come into their divorce proceedings, many believe that their properties will be distributed equally throughout the process. However, this is generally not the case. This is because the state of New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that a judge determines how to divide assets in a way that is fair and just for the couple’s situation. In order to do this, the judge considers several different factors regarding the relationship in order to make a decision. This may include:
- The age and health of each spouse
- The duration of the marriage
- Economic circumstances
- Each spouse’s contribution to marital property
- Any tax consequence that may apply
In making a decision, judges generally do not consider if marital fault contributed to the divorce. However, they may look into if there is an economic fault. If one spouse is irresponsible in handling their assets, the judge may make a decision in favor of the more responsible spouse.
Contact our Firm
If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.