Fort Lee Property Division Lawyer
Property division can be a complex and time-intensive part of the divorce process, even if everyone agrees on who should keep certain assets. If you disagree about how to distribute what you own or what constitutes an equitable division, this procedure can take months to sort out.
Assistance from a Fort Lee property division lawyer could help you conclude your divorce more quickly and ensure that you and your former spouse are satisfied with the outcome. By working to protect your rights throughout these proceedings, a seasoned divorce attorney may be able to minimize animosity and maximize productivity.
Relevant Factors during the Asset Division Process
Property division in New Jersey does not always require a 50/50 split of all divisible assets. Instead, local courts always try to ensure an equitable distribution of assets, meaning the amount of property each party keeps should match the degree to which they contributed to the marital estate, among other factors.
N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23.1 defines several specific criteria that courts must use when determining whether an asset division agreement is equitable or when making a binding decision on property division because the parties cannot reach a mutually agreeable solution by themselves. Some of these criteria include:
- The standard of living that both parties enjoyed during their marriage
- How long the marriage lasted
- What property or financial assets each party brought into the marriage
- The physical health and age of each party
- The current and future earning capacities of both parties
- What debts, if any, the parties hold individually and/or jointly
- What contributions, if any, either party made to the other’s occupational or educational pursuits
- The balance of child custody between the two parties, if applicable
Depending on the circumstances, a Fort Lee property division attorney may be able to emphasize certain criteria over others in the interest of pursuing a preferred outcome in court.
What Property is Subject to Division During a Divorce?
Not everything owed by two spouses is subject to division by a court in the event of divorce. Only marital property, which includes assets held jointly by both parties or acquired by either party during their marriage, is subject to division.
Property that an individual spouse owned before they got married and never commingled with their spouse’s assets is considered separate property and cannot be equitably distributed by a divorce court. Likewise, inheritances and gifts received by one spouse from someone other than the other spouse during their marriage are considered separate property.
The presumption that both spouses jointly own property acquired during a marriage is rebuttable. In other words, it is possible for one spouse to successfully argue before a court that newly acquired property remained under sole ownership and is therefore not subject to division during divorce. Assistance from an asset division lawyer in Fort Lee could be crucial to properly identifying, valuing, and ensuring the equitable distribution of marital property.
How is Separate Property Established?
In New Jersey, any piece of property that was acquired prior to a marriage and was kept separate during the marriage would be considered separate property. In order to distinguish separate property from other shared assets, the party who is asking to exempt it from equitable distribution will have to provide the necessary evidence. It is the burden of the person asserting this claim to prove it.
There are many forms of separate property, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, stock options, premarital bonuses, real estate, or businesses. It is crucial for the owner of a piece of property to show that it not only was acquired prior to the marriage, but that it was maintained separately. Careful record keeping throughout the marriage could establish that a piece of property only belongs to one spouse, which is why it is essential for spouses to thoroughly familiarize themselves with their personal and shared financial matters.
Enlist the Help of a Fort Lee Property Division Attorney Today
When it comes to dividing property fairly during a divorce, it is critical to be as honest, accurate, and thorough as possible during every step of the process. Any indication that one party is trying to hide or undervalue assets could significantly drag out your divorce and have legal consequences.
If you want to proceed through the asset distribution process as smoothly as possible, retaining a skilled Fort Lee property division lawyer could help. Call today to find out how an attorney could aid your case.