Asset Division in a New Jersey Divorce
Family lawyer represents clients in Union, Essex, Somerset and Warren counties
Going through a divorce is overwhelming. On top of the emotional pain that accompanies the end of a long-term relationship, dissolving a marriage is also a significant financial event. Without the guidance of a qualified attorney, you might not obtain an appropriate share of the marital estate once you and your ex go your separate ways. At Patricia A. Mack Attorney at Law in Scotch Plains, I represent New Jersey spouses in negotiations, mediation and litigation relating to marital asset division. Whenever possible, I look for ways to secure a mutually satisfactory settlement on the allocation of property and debts, but am also skilled at advocating for clients in legal proceedings under the state’s equitable distribution standard.
Scotch Plains attorney advises on the equitable distribution standard
When New Jersey spouses cannot agree on how to allocate assets and debts during a divorce, a judge makes the decision based on the state’s equitable distribution law. Under this principle, the court order is based on what the judge determines to be fair. This differs from the community property standard used by some states, which holds that ownership of each marital asset is divided 50-50 between the spouses. There is nothing that requires New Jersey judges to split the value of the marital estate equally between the parties, and one divorcing spouse often winds up with more.
Types of marital property subject to division
Unless a valid prenuptial agreement is in place, nearly every asset acquired by either spouse from the time they are wed is part of the divisible marital estate. Exceptions might be made for gifts and inheritances that have been left to one spouse and not comingled with shared assets. While you often hear about disputes over who will receive the marital home or family car, all types of property are subject to the equitable distribution process, including:
- Bank accounts
- Investments, pensions and retirement plans
- Real estate and personal property
- Ownership shares in a business
Unwinding financial ties can be particularly difficult for high net worth couples. When necessary, I consult with forensic accountants, appraisers and other subject matter experts to help clients secure a fair share of marital assets.
Factors considered by judges in equitable distribution cases
According to the provisions of New Jersey family law, judges are able to consider any information they deem to be relevant when making an equitable distribution decision. Criteria listed in the statute that must be taken into account include:
- The duration of the marriage
- The age and health of the spouses
- The income and earning capacity of the spouses
- The couple’s standard of living
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition and dissipation of marital property
- The tax consequences of the distribution
- Any pertinent prenuptial or postnuptial agreements entered into by the parties
As you make important choices about how to handle your divorce, my firm offers knowledgeable insight about how a court might allocate marital property if no settlement is reached in your case. You can use this counsel to decide to proceed. Whether asset division issues are resolved through discussions, in mediation or at trial, I will make a persuasive case for the resolution you deserve.
Contact a New Jersey attorney to discuss asset division in your divorce
Patricia A. Mack Attorney at Law in Scotch Plains advises area spouses on asset division and other aspects of the New Jersey divorce process. Please call 908-521-4526 or contact me online for a consultation.