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What do I Need to Know About Equitable Distribution in New Jersey?

When a divorce takes place, there are many couples who have to complete the process through litigation. These situations can subject their assets to equitable distribution. This process is when the court determines how to divide a couple’s assets fairly between the two of them. It is important to know this is not necessarily an even split. There are often cases in which spouses are left unsatisfied with this outcome, which is why it is crucial to retain the services of an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney for assistance with your case.

Marital Property vs. Separate Property

Throughout the duration of a marriage, couples often have a variety of assets. These are put into two different categories in a divorce case: marital property and separate property. Marital property consists of the assets the couple acquired throughout their marriage. This can include real estate, cars, income, certain retirement or pension accounts, and more. Separate property consists of assets that were obtained by either party before the marriage. This can include separate bank accounts, gifts, inheritances, and more. Separate property is usually untouched during a divorce. However, marital property is subject to equitable distribution. 

What is Considered When Distributing Assets?

New Jersey courts consider different aspects about both spouses during a divorce in order to determine what is equitable. This can include the following:

  • Age
  • Health
  • Property value
  • Yearly income
  • The established financial standard of living in the marriage
  • The terms of any existing child custody agreement

Can I Keep Certain Assets?

No one wants to lose assets they cherish in a divorce. This can cause the process of equitable distribution to be stressful. That is why it is important for spouses to be aware there are precautionary measures they can take to protect certain assets. This can be done in the following ways:

  • Create a prenuptial agreement. This is a legally binding document that must be drafted before marriage, outlining how the assets are distributed in the event of a future divorce. 
  • Create a postnuptial agreement. This offers the same protection but it is created after the marriage is official.

Contact our Firm

If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.