In New Jersey, property is equitably divided when a couple decides to divorce. Property division is conducted according to equitable property division rules so the question becomes what is equitable and how does the divorce court decide what is equitable. Several different factors are evaluated to determine what an equitable division of property looks like.
Factors used to determine equitable property division
Equitable property division is reached by considering several different factors including:
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age and physical and emotional health of each of the spouses;
- The income of each of the spouses;
- The debts or liabilities of the spouses;
- The standard of living of the couple;
- The economic circumstances of each of the spouses;
- The contributions of each of the spouses to the marital property including the contributions of one of the spouses as a homemaker;
- The earning capacities of each of the spouses;
- Any written agreements between the spouses such as a prenuptial agreement; and
- Any other factors the family law court deems relevant.
The process the family law court uses for property division involves several steps. The family law court will first determine which property should be distributed according to the definition of marital property. It will then determine the value of the marital property and calculate an equitable division of the marital property. Marital property includes property and assets acquired by the couple during their marriage.
Property division can be an emotional and complex process. For that reason, it helps for couples to know at the beginning of the process how equitable property division is determined.