Asset Division in Divorce
Our Monmouth County Divorce Lawyers Help Divide Property & Businesses
One of the most contentious steps of a divorce can be the distribution of property. Being informed of how New Jersey state law treats the assets of a couple undergoing a divorce can be invaluable to you and your family. Our qualified New Jersey divorce lawyers can apprise you of the details involved and guide you through the process.
Have questions about property division? Set up an appointment for a free consultation with a Monmouth County property division lawyer at The Law Office of Darren C. O'Toole, LLC. Contact us or call (732) 455-9000.
What is "Separate Property" in New Jersey?
Separate property are assets owned solely by either spousebefore the marriage or acquired after the Complaint for Divorce has been filed. Inheritances or gifts received by a single spouse will also meet the requirements. Separate property must remain separate throughout the marriage in order to retain the designation. If any assets are comingled with marital funds, such as in a joint savings account, state law considers it to be marital property.
Marital Property in New Jersey – Not All Things are Equal
Marriage is viewed as a partnership. Marital property is all assets acquired during a marriage. Property that was acquired during the marriage is subject to what is called “equitable distribution.” There are exceptions to this rule, such as: property acquired during the marriage by either party as a gift from a third party or inherited property.
"Equitable distribution of marital property" does not always mean an "equal division" -- it simply means that marital property must be distributed fairly. There may be reasons why one spouse would receive more or less than an equal share of an asset.
How Equitable Division of Property is Decided
In order for the courts to come to a reasonable or equitable decision regarding marital property, the judge will deliberate numerous factors.
When dividing marital property in New Jersey, the judge may consider:
- How long the marriage lasted
- Standard of living established
- Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements
- Contributions made to create and maintain marital property
The courts usually do not consider who is deemed at fault for the dissolution of marriage when dividing the marital property. Exceptions to this can be if a spouse wasted a significant portion of the assets due to activities such as gambling or substance abuse.
Filing for divorce? Call (732) 455-9000 or contact a property division lawyer at The Law Office of Darren C. O'Toole, LLC.
What Are Common Property Division Issues?
New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. This means that all marital assets and liabilities are divided by applying the equitable distribution factors in accordance with New Jersey’s Equitable Distribution Statute, N.J.S.A. 2A: 34-23.1.
While there are a great number of potential issues that can arise during the course of a divorce proceeding, there are some issues that frequently arise.
- One common issue that arises is the impact of pre-marital contributions to the marital property. For example, if one party owned a pre-marital home which is sold and proceeds utilized to purchase the marital residence, the marital residence is usually considered marital property. It does not necessarily mean that the property should be divided equally.
- Another common issue is a business or professional practice that is operated by one spouse. While the business may have a marital value that renders it an asset subject to equitable distribution, this may not be an asset that is divided equally.
- The issue of inheritances received by one spouse is also a common occurrence. Property inherited by one spouse generally is not an asset that is subject to equitable distribution by the Court unless co-mingled with marital property. For example, if an inheritance is comingled the inheritance may no longer be immune and may be subject to equitable distribution.
It is important to discuss the facts specific to your case with an experienced attorney to assure that all relevant factors are given consideration.
Protect Yourself With a New Jersey Property Division Lawyer
With more than fifty years of combined experience, our lawyers at The Law Office of Darren C. O'Toole, LLC have been recognized for their experienced and compassionate representation. Our knowledgeable family law attorneys are ready to help you reach a divorce settlement that is fair and beneficial for your family and you.
It is important to consult with a divorce attorney on issues related to property distribution. Request a free, initial consultation with The Law Office of Darren C. O'Toole, LLC today!