One of the most commonly asked questions regarding the division of a marriage’s assets is if any assets are protected from being divided. Though the answer to this question can seem complicated, it is important to understand the details of a situation such as this. Most assets will be considered marital property and subject to equitable distribution laws. This will include assets that an individual solely owned prior to the marriage such as property or a business. However, there are exceptions. There are circumstances in which only a portion of a specific asset will become the marital property and not the asset in its entirely. Continue reading to discover more on this topic and the details of these situations.
If you are looking into dividing complex marital assets during a divorce, it is recommended that you retain the services of a knowledgeable and experienced divorce attorney who will ensure your needs are taken into consideration. Reach out to our firm today to ensure you will be protected as you begin your post-divorce journey.
Prenuptial Agreements and Protected Assets
When facing a divorce equitable distribution, the first step you will want to take is to look into any existing marital agreements including prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. Any terms outlined in these agreements will supersede the default equitable distribution process.
Any assets that were obtained during the marriage will be considered marital property which makes them subject to equitable distribution. Assets that were later co-mingled with the marital finances but were owned prior to the marriage will also likely be considered marital property.
Equitable Distribution Exempt Assets
The following assets are example from equitable distribution during a divorce in New Jersey:
- Retirement Funds and Investments: Only the post-marriage value of retirement funds and investments need to be divided. This will require an investigation to establish what these funds were worth at the beginning of the marriage, what they are worth now, and how to divide the difference between the parties in values.
- Inheritance and Trusts: When determining divorce agreements such as child support, equitable distribution, and alimony, financial gains such as inheritance and trusts are not factored into the equation.
- Gifts: Gifts given prior to the marriage are not subject to equitable distribution. This most commonly refers to the engagement ring. Gifts given by a third party outside of the marriage are also typically exempt. However, gifts given between the spouses during marriage are subject to equitable distribution.
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.