According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New Jersey had one of the lowest divorce rates in the United States in 2021, reporting 2.2 divorces per 1,000 total population.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that many people in the State of New Jersey each year must navigate the divorce process and may not initially know where to begin or what the process entails.
Ending a marriage is never easy, and dealing with material details can seem overwhelming.
But one of the most important things the court must determine is how the marital property will be divided. However, this can also be one of the more contentious parts of a divorce action.
Asset division can be a complicated and confusing topic. That is why it’s crucial to have someone in your corner with the background and experience necessary to help protect your rights and property moving forward.
If you have questions about how courts handle property division in a New Jersey divorce, use our guide below to learn more and see how the family law attorneys at Weiner Law can help. Contact us today to get started.
Overview of Asset Division in a New Jersey Divorce
Before proceeding with your divorce and deciding whether to hire an attorney, there are a few important things you should know.
Below is an overview of how asset division works in a New Jersey divorce, so you have a better idea of what you can expect moving forward.
Marital vs. Separate Property
To determine who gets what in a New Jersey divorce, the property must first be classified as marital or separate property.
Generally speaking, courts will only require the division of marital assets and will allow each spouse to retain ownership of their separate property.
Marital property generally includes any asset acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Separate property, on the other hand, typically includes assets that either spouse acquired before the marriage.
However, New Jersey Statutes (N.J.S.) § 2A:34-23(h) also specifies that any property that was acquired by either spouse as a gift or inheritance, even if it was acquired during the marriage, will also be considered separate property that is not subject to division.
Types of Property That Can Be Divided in a New Jersey Divorce
Examples of property that may be subject to division in a New Jersey divorce include the following:
- The marital home;
- Any rental, vacation, or other secondary properties;
- Business interests;
- Investment, banking, and retirement accounts;
- Vehicles; and
- Any personal property.
Notably, however, the division of property in a divorce does not apply only to assets. Debts and other liabilities may also be subject to division.
Equitable Distribution of Property
From a logistics standpoint, parties to a divorce can privately negotiate the terms of their property division and ask the court to enter their agreement as part of the final order.
However, if the parties cannot mutually agree on how their property should be divided, the court will have to step in and decide for them.
In making decisions regarding the division of marital property between two spouses, New Jersey courts follow the concept of equitable distribution. This means that the court will divide property in a manner that is equitable or fair.
Sometimes, a 50-50 split is not fair due to extenuating circumstances. This means that property will not necessarily be divided equally between the parties—but fairly.
Under N.J.S. § 2A:34-23.1, courts will consider the following factors when determining a fair distribution of assets:
- Length of the marriage,
- Age and health of the parties,
- Income or property brought into the marriage by each party,
- Standard of living established during the marriage,
- Any written agreement the parties entered into before or during the marriage,
- Economic circumstances and earning capacity of the respective parties at the time the property division becomes effective,
- Any sacrifices either party made for the advancement of the career of the other,
- How long it might take for one party to be able to support itself, and
- Tax consequences of the proposed distribution to each respective party.
This is not an exhaustive list, and the court can consider any factor it deems relevant. If you have questions about whether and to what extent your property may be subject to division, speak with an experienced New Jersey divorce and property division lawyer today.
How a New Jersey Division of Assets Lawyer Can Help with Your Case
Going through a divorce can be a long and complex legal process, and in many cases, hiring an experienced attorney can be a great way to save time, money, and stress. For example, a New Jersey divorce and asset division lawyer can help you by:
- Providing valuable legal expertise to help you better understand your rights, obligations, and options;
- Identifying and evaluating all marital and separate property to help you determine what is subject to equitable distribution;
- Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your claims;
- Negotiating potential settlements regarding how to divide your marital property with your spouse and their legal counsel;
- Drafting and filing important court documents to keep your case moving along efficiently; and
- Representing your interests and making legal arguments on your behalf in court.
If you’re still not sure whether hiring an attorney is the right decision for you, feel free to give Weiner Law a call to discuss your options before deciding how you’d like to proceed.
Weiner Law: Your Trusted New Jersey Division of Assets Lawyers
When it comes to dividing your assets in a New Jersey divorce, it’s important to put your case in the hands of someone you can trust. At Weiner Law, we hope you will feel confident putting your trust in us.
Our team of family law attorneys has decades of collective experience fighting for the rights of people just like you.
We have the legal expertise necessary to pursue and protect your interests, and we pride ourselves on recommending timely and practical solutions for our clients.
Call today to discuss the details of your case and see how Weiner Law can help you move forward.
What Does a Division of Assets Lawyer Do?
A division of assets lawyer is typically an attorney who practices family law and assists individuals in dividing their marital property during the divorce process. The primary responsibilities of an asset division lawyer will typically include:
- Assisting with property assessment and evaluation,
- Drafting and filing court documents,
- Negotiating potential settlements with opposing parties, and
- Representing clients in court.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it should give you an idea of how important having professional help is in getting a good outcome.
Do I Have to Have a Division of Assets Attorney for My New Jersey Divorce?
No, you are not required to have an attorney for your New Jersey divorce. However, having an experienced family law attorney in your corner who can help you effectively protect your rights and property can be very valuable.
So, even though you are not legally required to hire an attorney, doing so is certainly worth considering.
How Much Does a Division of Assets Lawyer Cost?
Unfortunately, there is no average cost of hiring a division of assets lawyer in New Jersey. This is because the rates of family law and divorce attorneys vary widely based on the attorney’s level of experience, their geographic location, the complexity of the case, and other factors.
Your actual cost can be higher or lower than average, depending on the extent of the assets being divided, the net worth of the respective parties, and other relevant factors. If you have questions about fees, contact our team to discuss our rates in more detail.