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Complex Property in a New Jersey Divorce | What to Know

During a New Jersey divorce, a couple’s assets will be divided through the process of equitable distribution. This can be a straightforward process, but some assets are more difficult to divide. Read on to learn more about dividing complex assets during a New Jersey divorce.

Marital Property vs. Separate Property

In order to determine how your assets will be divided, you will first have to determine which of your assets are marital property and which are separate property. Marital property refers to 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, or during the marriage but were kept separate. 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

What are Examples of Complex Property?

While there is a general formula when it comes to dividing marital assets, things can get difficult when it comes to complex property. Some examples of complex property include:

  • Separate property improved via marital contributions
  • Assets incorporated in prenuptial agreements
  • Gifts, trusts, and individual inheritances
  • Hidden assets
  • Family businesses and partnerships
  • Various real estate investments
  • Jointly-owned assets, like time-share properties
  • Executive compensation packages such as deferred income, stock options, restricted stock, and bonuses
  • Retirement funds, pensions, 401k’s, IRA’s and any other long-term investment assets you may have accumulated over the course of your marriage
  • Intellectual property like copyrights, patents, and trademarks
  • Assets held in trusts
  • Unique assets like antiques, collectibles, or jewelry
  • Separate property that is now intertwined with marital property

How are Complex Assets Divided?

In order to divide your assets, the court must first know the true value of each asset. In order to have an accurate assessment of the assets, professionals in other fields may be brought in for help. This can include accounting, financial analysis, real estate, and property appraisal experts. If there are hidden assets, private investigators can be retained to uncover them. This process can be complicated, so it is best to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side. 

If you have any questions or concerns about complex property, reach out to our experienced firm today.


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