As you head for divorce, you are naturally worried about all of the belongings you and your spouse have accumulated over the years. Who will end up getting which items as part of your divorce proceeding?
Unfortunately, property division remains a major source of conflict among divorcing couples. Here is a glimpse at how the state of New Jersey handles the distribution of property during a marital breakup.
A look at marital property
The court usually considers any property that you and your soon-to-be-ex acquired in the course of your marriage as marital property. Meanwhile, property that either you or your future ex acquired prior to the marriage should remain separate property. This property may include an inheritance or a gift, for example.
Your separate property during your marriage will remain separate when you divorce, so you do not have to worry about your spouse receiving a portion of it. However, marital property ends up divided between you and your soon-to-be-ex. This property may include the family home and other real estate, cars, retirement savings and other investment accounts, bank accounts, executive compensation packages and even high-net-worth collectible items.
Equitable distribution in New Jersey
Some states are community property states, where the law considers all marital property as jointly owned. However, New Jersey is not one of these states. Instead, New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, where the divorce court divides assets in a way that it considers reasonable and fair. This may or may not lead to a 50/50 split depending on the circumstances.
Equitable distribution factors
The court considers several factors before making a property division determination in an equitable distribution state such as New Jersey:
- How long you and your spouse were married
- How old you are, and your health statuses
- Your and your spouse’s individual incomes
- Your standard of living as a couple
- Your and your spouse’s individual economic circumstances
The court will also look at both your and your spouse’s contributions to your marital property. This includes your contribution as a homemaker if you decided to stay at home with the children rather than labor in the workforce. You ultimately have the right to pursue the most personally favorable outcome possible when it comes to the distribution of your marital property.