Couples choosing to divorce must determine how to settle the distribution of property and other assets in a way that satisfies both spouses and prepares them for life after divorce. The process can either be fairly straightforward or incredibly contentious depending on the assets involved and the feelings between both parties. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning the court considers several mitigating factors before distributing property in a way that is fair for both spouses.
Defining Marital Assets
Marital assets are simply defined as anything acquired by either spouse during the marriage. It does not matter which spouse acquired the assets because anything earned during the marriage typically belongs to both partners. There are a few exceptions, but marital assets generally include:
- Bonus income
- Cars and other vehicles
Factors Involved in Equitable Distribution
It is important to note that equitable distribution does not necessarily mean equal – it means fair. Because every marriage and divorce is unique, a judge will consider many different factors before determining what equitable distribution means for each couple. Some of these factors include:
- The age and physical and emotional health of both parties
- The economic situation of both parties at the time of asset distribution
- The debts and liabilities of both parties
- The deferment of one spouse’s career goals for the benefit of the family
- The income and assets brought into the marriage by both parties
- The income and earning potential for both parties
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living throughout the marriage
Inheritances, gifts, and property acquired before the marriage are usually excluded from marital assets. Also excluded are assets designated non-marital by an existing prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Mediation or Litigation
Divorcing couples can determine the distribution of assets through mediation or litigation. Couples who communicate effectively and have shared goals for the family after divorce may benefit from mediation. A knowledgeable South Jersey divorce lawyer will counsel clients throughout the process to ensure they will be financially sound after the divorce is finalized. If both parties are unable to agree on the distribution of assets, they have the option to pursue litigation, a process where a judge considers all extenuating factors before making a final and legally-binding decision.
We fight for everything you deserve and have worked for during the marriage so you can start this new chapter in good financial standing. To schedule a free initial consultation, call 856-751-5505 or submit an online inquiry today. We are conveniently located in Marlton, New Jersey, and we serve residents in Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and throughout the state.