West New York Office 436 58th Street | Hackensack Office 241 Hudson Street
New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. Equitable means just and fair. When property is divided, it is not split in half. The court divides property based upon fairness. One party may want a particular asset that has a lesser financial value but is personally more important. For example, a house where the children will continue to stay. The court might offset that with pension monies to the other party.
The court looks at about 16 different factors in how they allocate property. The last factor is a catchall, which is what’s relevant and what’s helpful. The court will use their powers of equity to distribute the property in a fair manner, but it’s rarely 50/50. Debt, however, is often shared equally. However, you can try to demonstrate that one party accumulated the debt for a non-marital purpose which didn’t benefit the family or the spouse. With proper evidence, a judge may rule that the spouse who did not spend the money gets a larger portion of the marital estate.
New Jersey has a statute that sets 16 factors that the court must consider in allocating the assets. One of those factors is no fault. New Jersey is a no fault state and it is completely irrelevant to the judge why you are getting divorced. The facts that the court will consider includes the length of marriage, the parties’ education and ability to earn, whether there is debt, whether there are young children, disability, health, and the age of the people. No one factor has any precedence over another. Many times, most of the factors won’t even apply in a particular case and it’s up to the judge, after weighing all the evidence, to decide which factors are most relevant in a particular case.
First thing is defining what property is premarital. The law says that premarital property is the possession of the person who owned it before the marriage. The most important thing is to keep that marital property separate as premarital. Keep it in your own name. If you mix it up with your spouse’s property or put in in their name, it becomes marital. Other examples of assets that wouldn’t be subject to equitable distribution include a gift, a personal injury case settlement, or an inheritance. Just as with premarital property, these are properties which can become marital if they are commingled. How we define a property as an active or passive asset is also a very significant question.
For more information on Joint Property Vs. Community Property State, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (855) 208-3650 today.