If you’ve started the divorce process, then you understand you will have to move through the property division process. Assets you once shared with your spouse will no longer remain the same.
In New Jersey, courts follow equitable distribution rules as they handle divorce cases. This means that instead of dividing all marital property in half, the judge will keep fairness the goal. So, the judge assigned to your case will look at your financial and marital history as they create a division.
Per state statute, these are some common factors the court will review:
- Marriage details: This includes the length of the marriage, how much each spouse contributed to marital assets through career or caring for home and kids. It also includes the standard of living you and your spouse upheld through the course of your marriage.
- Ability to earn and health: The judge will consider each party’s earning capacity as well as their educational level, employability and other job skills. The judge might also take note of each spouse’s age and physical and emotional health.
These factors only guide how the court handles marital property division. Marital property includes most of what couples acquire throughout their marriage, including their family home, income, debts and retirement and other investments.
However, when an individual spouse receives a gift or inheritance throughout marriage or enters a marriage with their own property, these assets aren’t marital property. And this individual property, also known as separate property, isn’t subject to division. For example, maybe your favorite couch in the family home was something you owned before marriage or something you bought in cash from inheritance money you received from a relative. Under either of these scenarios, the couch probably won’t be something your ex-spouse will get to take into their new home after divorce.
To protect assets that you believe are 100% yours and to achieve a fair settlement, it’s helpful to seek legal representation as you move forward with your divorce.