Each state has a slightly different divorce process. In general, there are two main methods for determining how marital assets are split in the event of a divorce. Some states use a community property concept, but most states use what’s called equitable distribution. New Jersey is one of the majority that benefits from the latter method. To learn more, read this blog or contact one of our Somerset County Property Distribution Attorneys today!
WHAT IS THE EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION METHOD?
This is essentially the idea that marital assets should be divided equitably (but not necessarily equally) between divorcing spouses based on numerous factors. Before assets can be split, the court must determine what is personal property and what is marital property. Assets you acquired prior to a marriage are considered personal property, while marital property would be the assets that you collect during the marriage. Some personal property can be converted to marital property and vice versa. For example, if a spouse bought a house prior to marriage but later added the other spouse’s name to the deed, then the house would be deemed marital property. Spouses can also claim partial ownership of their spouse’s personal property if they made contributions that raised its value.
New Jersey is one of the many states that uses equitable distribution in the divorce process. This means that not every asset division in a divorce is 50/50. Instead, the court decides on a settlement based on factors such as:
- Each spouse’s age and health
- Each spouse’s income and other financial resources
- The present value of marital property
- Tax consequences
- Length of the marriage
- Marital agreements made before or during the marriage
- Each spouse’s contributions to the property
To avoid a judge deciding how marital assets will be split, many couples choose to work towards a settlement agreement themselves. For help in drafting and solidifying a divorce agreement, you can speak with a trusted divorce lawyer or mediator.
WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY PROPERTY CONCEPT?
The community property method is far different from equitable distribution in many ways. This concept essentially gives personal property to each respective spouse and then splits the marital assets nearly in half, regardless of the circumstances. While this method can make asset division simpler, it doesn’t take into account the personal needs of each spouse. Some states that use this method also have laws in place to make the division more equitable, so it’s not always entirely 50/50.
Are you going through a divorce? Do you need help determining how your assets will be split in the process? No need to panic because Siragusa Law Firm is here to help! Contact our talented team today for an initial consultation.