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What factors could impact how assets are divided in your divorce?

When you are getting divorced, you may have many financial concerns. This includes worries about how the various assets you and your spouse collected over the years will now be split up.

You might end up reaching a full agreement with your ex over how property will be divided. Or you might be unable to come to such an agreement and have to leave certain property division decisions up to the court. When getting divorced here in New Jersey, it is very important to understand what courts in the state do when it comes to property division decisions. This is the case even if you anticipate you and your ex will reach a full agreement on property division, as it can affect bargaining positions in property division negotiations.

New Jersey is an equitable division state

New Jersey courts use the equitable distribution system when making decisions regarding how property will be divided in a divorce. This means they are to divide marital property between the spouses in a way that is equitable, reasonable and fair, not necessarily equal.

What is marital property?

It is generally all the property a couple acquired during their marriage. However, there are some types of property that are typically exempt from being marital, including gifts from others and inheritances. Non-marital property generally stays with the spouse it belongs to.

What is equitable?

New Jersey courts use a wide range of factors in determining what would be an equitable division of marital assets. Here are some of the factors that could potentially impact such decisions:

  • Whether you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement (courts generally allow the terms of such agreements to be controlling in property division)
  • Your financial situation (including income, economic circumstances, earning capacity and the standard of living you are used to)
  • Your spouse’s financial situation
  • Your contributions to the marital assets
  • Your spouse’s contributions to the marital assets
  • Debts
  • Your age
  • Your spouse’s age
  • Your health
  • Your spouse’s health
  • The length of your marriage

As one can see, individual circumstances have big impacts regarding property division here in New Jersey. So, when getting divorced, reaching out for skilled legal advice on what your situation means when it comes to property division can be critical.

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