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What's The Difference Between Marital And Separate Property?

When a couple files for divorce, there are a number of factors that they must come to an agreement on, including things like child custody, child support, and spousal support. Property division is another consideration that can be hotly contested in divorce cases. Couples who cannot reach a resolution in these matters will have to have their case litigated before a judge.

When it comes to property division, you may have questions about how it works. New Jersey has an equitable division law, which means that the Court will divide property fairly, but not necessarily equally.

Determining what is “fair” requires an examination of several factors, including but not limited to:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The contribution of each spouse to the marriage
  • The needs of the parties going forward

An important part of determining what is “fair” is determining which property is marital or joint property (acquired during the marriage) and which property is separate (acquired before the marriage). Examples of joint property may include the marital home, cars, furniture, and other personal items. Examples of separate property include gifts or inheritances.

Difficulties tend to arise when property becomes intermingled and it becomes less clear whether it is marital or separate. For example, an inheritance is typically considered separate property, but when used as a down payment for a home the couple shares while married, the line becomes blurred. When the Judge decides who gets the house the spouse that used inheritance funds to buy the residence will likely want that money back. This is why it becomes critical to paint a clear picture for the Court regarding how and when property was acquired. An experienced attorney is essential in this regard.

Questions About Property Division? Our Hackensack Lawyers Can Help!

For more information about the distinction between marital and separate property, call an experienced Hackensack family law attorney at Moskowitz Law Group, LLC. Schedule a free case evaluation today when you call (201) 419-6223.