If you are thinking about getting divorced in New Jersey, it is important to understand how your property maybe divided. This can have a significant impact on you as well as your family members after the divorce concludes. New Jersey classifies the assets and the debts that a married couple accumulates together or individually over the course of their marriage to be marital property, no matter how that property is titled.

Equitable distribution rules in New Jersey mandate a fair, which is not necessarily an equal, division of all marital property in a divorce. Judges have a broad range of discretion to determine the factors that plan the equitable distribution in New Jersey, including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The standard of living established over the marriage
  • The tax consequences of a distribution
  • The extent to which one spouse may have held off on career goals during a marriage
  • The overall economic circumstances for both spouses
  • The property or income brought into the marriage by either spouse
  • The health and age of either spouse
  • The present value of all property

A judge can determine how much weight to give to any individual factor. Typically, they will put the greatest importance on the marital lifestyle established and the length of the marriage.

Couples are also eligible to negotiate their own equitable distribution arrangement with a help of a mediator or in an independent fashion. Otherwise, the decision about equitable distribution of property ultimately falls to a judge. Marital property includes all debts and assets accumulated over the course of the marriage. However, it does not include property that either spouse received before marriage or as an inheritance or gift from a third party during a marriage. A person who claims that any property they own at the time of their divorce is separate will have to prove it as this can be extremely difficult when elements of marital property are often co-mingled.

Property is valued at its fair current value when it comes to the process of equitable distribution which means what you would be able to get for the assets if you sold it today. There are many different options to consider in the distribution of marital debts and assets.

First of all, there can be tax implications for both parties depending on the type of assets received. Furthermore, certain assets may make it more difficult for you to financially move on with your life after divorce. One party may fight to receive the marital home for example, but it could be difficult to liquidate this asset quickly. Consulting with an experienced Hackensack equitable distribution attorney is strongly recommended if you are facing divorce.