How does equitable distribution work in New Jersey?

If you are facing a divorce, it is best to understand how equitable distribution works in New Jersey. Continue reading to discover the difference between marital property and separate property, plus, learn the factors courts will determine when distributing assets in a divorce. If you have any further questions regarding this process, reach out to our knowledgeable divorce attorney who will walk you through each step of the way.

What is marital property?

There are two main categories of property when you are divorced: separate property and marital property. The court will determine which of your assets are considered marital property and which are considered separate property. Marital property consists of assets that you have accumulated throughout the duration of your marriage. Separate property is property obtained before or outside of your marriage. Separate property is generally exempt from the equitable distribution process. Marital property is subject to be distributed equitably.

How do courts determine who gets what in a divorce?

Courts will consider the following factors when determining how they will distribute assets in a divorce:

  • You and your spouse’s health
  • Your marital standard of living
  • The length of your marriage
  • Your income
  • You and your spouse’s earning potential
  • The value of your property
  • Property settlement agreements
  • Debts and liabilities
  • Tax consequences
  • Your respective economic circumstances once your assets are divided
  • Whether you need a trust to help cover the cost of reasonably foreseeable medical or educational costs for a child
  • Whether you or your spouse deferred career goals for the benefit of your marriage

Can I protect my assets from a divorce?

There are certain preventative measures to take that may protect certain assets from a divorce. For starters, you may draft a prenuptial agreement with your spouse before you are married. This document is a legally binding agreement that states which assets belong to whom if you were to be divorced. However, if you did not draft a prenuptial agreement before marriage, you may draft a postnuptial agreement that serves a similar purpose. If you jointly own a business with your spouse, you may draft a shareholder agreement. This can eliminate any future business disputes that may be brought on by a divorce.

If you have not drafted these agreements and are in a contested divorce, you may be wondering if there is a way to still protect your assets. If this is the case, you should retain the services of an experienced family law attorney. Reach out to our firm today to learn how we can assist you.

Contact our experienced Bergen County firm

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to understand and protect their legal rights before, during, and after the divorce process in towns across New Jersey and Bergen County, including Hackensack, Ridgewood, Paramus, Teaneck, and Fort Lee. To speak with our team of divorce lawyers today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your concerns about your divorce, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.

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