How Are a Person’s Assets Determined in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, marital property that is acquired throughout a marriage is not split evenly during a divorce. Instead, New Jersey courts use an equitable distribution approach and consider many factors when dividing assets. Under this system, anything that is acquired from the date of the marriage to the date of filing the complaint for divorce is considered marital property.

After identifying the marital property to be divided and determining its value, courts generally then consider a variety of factors, including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Age and physical or emotional health of each spouse
  • Debts and liabilities
  • The couple’s standard of living
  • Economic circumstances
  • Each spouse’s contribution to the couple’s marital property
  • Any previously established written agreements
  • Any other factors the court considers relevant

All of this is done is to determine an equitable division of property and ensure that each spouse is entitled to a portion of the marital property concurrent with their contributions during the marriage. A skilled New Jersey attorney could help further explain how assets are determined following a separation or divorce.

Distributing Inherited Assets or Those Owned Before the Marriage

If there are any assets that were acquired prior to the marriage, they could be exempt from equitable distribution during divorce. Inheritances and gifts are considered exempt from equitable distribution unless given from one spouse to another.

Under New Jersey law, marital property includes all real and personal property which was legally and beneficially acquired throughout the marriage. As an example, the spouse of a person who owned a home prior to the marriage and later made it their family home could claim entitlement to the home based on their contribution to the mortgage, repairs, and other actions related to caring for the property.

Depending on the circumstances, it may be difficult to separate assets owned prior to marriage. For instance, it is possible that a spouse may claim that they are entitled to the increasing value of the assets. Again, the exact value of property to be divided depends on each spouse’s contributions, but often the best way to protect premarital assets and determine their value is to establish a pre-marital agreement prior to exchanging vows.

Seek Professional Help with Divorce Laws and Equitable Distribution

For more information about how a person’s assets are determined in New Jersey, call an experienced family law attorney at Moskowitz Law Group, LLC who could explain the distinction between marital and separate property.

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