New Jersey is indeed an Equitable Distribution state. This is a common question and often a point of misunderstanding among couples considering divorce in New Jersey. Equitable distribution is a principle used in many states, including New Jersey, for dividing marital property during a divorce. This means that all marital assets and debts are subject to be divided fairly or equitably between both parties.
Many incorrectly assume that ‘equitable distribution’ means ‘equal distribution’. However, in legal terms, equitable means ‘fair’, not necessarily ‘equal’. The law in New Jersey aims to distribute marital assets in a manner that is fair and just for both parties, taking into account several factors. This nuanced distinction often leads to confusion and misinformation.
Misunderstood Assets and Equitable Distribution
The Marital Home and Equitable Distribution
Certain assets are often misunderstood or overlooked in divorce proceedings. One such asset is the marital home. In the context of equitable distribution, the marital home may not be divided equally if one party contributed more towards its purchase or maintenance.
For instance, consider a scenario where one spouse had a significantly higher income and contributed more substantially to the home’s mortgage or upkeep. In such a scenario, the equitable distribution principle may grant a larger share of the home’s value to that spouse, considering their higher financial contribution.
Retirement funds are another commonly misunderstood asset. Even though they are in one spouse’s name, if they were accrued during the marriage, they are considered marital property and subject to equitable distribution. However, the division is not necessarily fifty-fifty. Other factors, such as each spouse’s economic situation post-divorce, length of the marriage, and each party’s contribution to the marriage, could influence how retirement funds are distributed.
Investments and Equitable Distribution
Investments, such as stocks and bonds, are also frequently misunderstood in the context of equitable distribution. Many mistakenly believe that only assets acquired during the marriage are subject to division. However, any increase in value of premarital investments during the marriage may also be considered marital property and subject to equitable distribution.
Business Interests and Equitable Distribution
Just like investments and retirement funds, business interests can also be a contentious issue in divorce proceedings. In cases where one or both spouses have business interests, the equitable distribution principle is often applied. However, determining the value of these interests and how they should be divided can be a complex process. Several factors come into play, such as the type of business, the spouse’s involvement in the business, and whether the business was established before or during the marriage. In the following section, we delve deeper into how business interests are handled in the context of equitable distribution in divorce proceedings.
How an Attorney Can Help
A divorce attorney can play a role in making sure that marital property is divided fairly. They can help define what counts as marital property, reducing any uncertainties that could lead to disagreements. This includes physical assets like houses and cars, as well as intangible ones like investments and retirement funds.
Next, attorneys can work with you to inventory property to consider for division, creating a comprehensive list of all marital assets. This could involve getting valuations for real estate, businesses, and other significant assets, uncovering hidden assets, and calculating the increased value of separate assets.
Furthermore, an attorney can negotiate the division of these assets on behalf of their client. With their deep understanding of the law and experience with similar cases, they can ensure an equitable and fair division. If a fair agreement cannot be reached through negotiation, they can also represent their client’s interests in court.
Check out our website for a wealth of resources on New Jersey property division laws. We’ve carefully curated these resources to address common questions and delve into the intricacies of the process. You’ll find comprehensive info on the Marital Property laws, what to expect during proceedings, the impact on court decisions, and answers to frequently asked questions. Understanding these laws will help you navigate the court system more effectively and plan for your financial independence.
We also answer common questions about marital property in NJ, such as if New Jersey is a community property or 50/50 divorce state, or follows equitable distribution. Additionally, gaining insight into how attorneys handle various situations that arise during divorce proceedings is crucial. They can assist clients in negotiating settlements, uncovering hidden assets, and navigating complex scenarios, such as property division even when one’s name is not on the mortgage.
Please note that New Jersey laws may change. For the most up-to-date information, consult with a lawyer. The guidance provided here is general and may not reflect your personal circumstances or recent changes in the law.
Why Choose Our Legal Team in New Jersey
If you have questions about property division in a divorce in New Jersey, or how the state’s laws may be applied to your situation reach out to our legal team. At Petrelli Previtera, we provide personalized and effective legal representation during challenging times.
Our New Jersey divorce lawyers have experience guiding individuals through the complexities of divorce, especially property division. We’re proud to be recognized as one of the top divorce firms nationwide, committed to excellence. As an Inc. 5000 company, we’re known for our effective and compassionate representation we’re here to support you every step of the way.
We understand that each client’s circumstances are unique, and we care about resolving your legal issues. Our goal is to listen, guide, and support you throughout your journey. Contact us to discuss your case, and if we can support you in creating a brighter future for you and your family.