Dividing up your assets during a divorce is never easy. Under New Jersey’s equitable distribution laws, courts will divide property between divorcing spouses “fairly and equitably.”
However, unlike states with community property laws, equitable distribution of marital property does not necessarily mean that each spouse will get exactly 50%. Determining what is fair and equitable requires courts to first consider whether an asset is classified as marital property and then calculate the true value of the property.
What is marital property?
Courts generally consider assets that a couple acquired while married or with marital funds as marital property. An asset acquired before the marriage or by just one spouse may be classified as separate property. Courts will only distribute marital assets between the spouses in a divorce.
Valuation of marital property
Most marital assets cannot be physically divided between the spouses. Therefore, courts will have to determine the value of each marital asset in order to equitably distribute the property. Marital assets that often require valuation include:
In some cases, the divorcing spouses will choose a professional appraiser to value the asset based on current market value, potential future value, and other factors. The parties will then submit the appraisal report to the court.
If the parties are unable to agree on a neutral appraiser to value the property, both parties may submit reports from their own appraisers, leaving the court to review all reports and determine the value. In some cases, the courts will order parties to sell the asset and divide up the proceeds.
Issues relating to property division can cause the most stress in a high-asset divorce. A family law attorney can help protect your interests throughout the entire divorce process.