Role of the New Jersey Court in Division of Assets

Most New Jersey divorce cases are settled before the proceedings reach a full trial, and a court would only make a determination regarding the division of assets pursuant to a trial. About 98 percent of cases will either settle at an early settlement panel, with conferences between counsels, or at economic mediation.

However, there are still instances when a court would make a judgement in a property distribution case. A qualified legal professional could further explain the role of the New Jersey court in the division of assets and how different aspects of state law may be applicable to your case.

Factors in Court-Determined Property Division

In the unlikely event that the case goes to trial, and one of the issues is property distribution, the court must look at all the different factors of the equitable distribution statute. There are several factors that go into a court’s determination of what the appropriate distribution is, including:

  • The duration of the marriage or civil union
  • The age and emotional health of the parties
  • The income or property brought to the marriage
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • Any written agreements made by the parties addressing property distribution
  • The economic circumstances of each party at the time of subdivision of the property
  • The income and earning capacity of each party including educational background, work experience, and length of absence from the job market
  • The custodial responsibilities of each parent
  • The contribution of each party to the acquisition, dissipation, or preservation of the property
  • The tax consequences of the proposed distribution to each party

Additionally, when discussing the distribution of a property like a marital home, and there are children involved, the court may also take into account the need of custodial parent to occupy the marital residence in light of the children’s best interests.

The factors in the equitable distribution statute begin the framework for addressing property distribution, and the court has a responsibility to not only analyze the different factors but also take into account the case law, the specific circumstances of the parties, and anything that may be unusual and specific to the particular family. This would all occur pursuant to a trial with testimony by the parties and possibly other experts, before the court renders a decision. A knowledgeable asset division lawyer could help an individual understand how their local court would analyze these factors in their case.

Court-Ordered Sale of Property

In some asset distribution cases, the parties involved cannot maintain their expenses during the divorce proceedings. When this happens, the court can order the sale of their property so they can divide its proceeds to fund litigation costs, though this particular role of a New Jersey court is not particularly common in these cases. Usually if the property in question is a marital residence, the court will need a compelling reason to order the sale, such as if the parties cannot afford to maintain the property or there are other dire circumstances.

However, if the property in question is less central to the couple’s lives, such as investment property or a non-real estate property like a boat or a motorcycle, the court can order the sale of that and order the division of the proceeds if the parties are in need of cash during the litigation.

Consult with an Attorney About the New Jersey Court’s Role in Your Asset Division Case

The role of a New Jersey court in the asset division process can vary depending how far a particular case moves through the litigation proceedings. If your case proceeds to a full trial, the court could have a significant impact on how your property is distributed between you and your ex-spouse. If you want to learn more about how the courts operate in these cases, contact a skilled lawyer. Schedule a consultation today.

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