Couples amass a wide variety of assets, both large and small, during a marriage. In a divorce, how those assets are divided and distributed between spouses is almost always an emotional and hotly contested issue. Though tensions may be running particularly high in this phase of the divorce process, it's frequently in both spouses' best interest to put their differences aside and work with their attorneys to negotiate an agreement for fair distribution of their marital property.
When spouses can't (or won't) agree on property division matters, a judge may divide their assets for them, using a standard known as equitable distribution. Oftentimes, neither party is pleased with the results.
At Carl Taylor Law, LLC we understand why dividing assets can be so difficult for clients: you've worked hard for what you have and don't want to part with any more of it than you have to. Not to worry, our solutions-oriented attorneys, Carl Taylor and Lisa Stein-Browning, can help you protect your rights, interests, and assets—and ensure equitable distribution—in your New Jersey divorce.
How Community Property and Equitable Distribution Standards Differ
When people think about asset division in divorce cases, community property standards are what come to mind: the classic, 50-50 split so often portrayed in on TV and in movies. However, that is not the standard used to divide property in New Jersey (and many other states). In the Garden State, equitable distribution rules reign. Under this standard, marital property is dispensed fairly, but not necessarily evenly.
Marital Property and Separate Property in a New Jersey Divorce
Marital property is subject to equitable division in divorce, but the separate property (usually) isn't. Here's the difference: assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage are deemed marital property, while assets held by either spouse prior to marriage are viewed as separate property. Though separate property isn't usually subject to distribution, there are exceptions. Separate property “commingled” with marital property may become marital property in the eyes of the court. Additionally, if separate property was improved during the marriage, the value of those improvements may be counted as marital assets.
Factors the Court Considers When Distributing Assets
Under New Jersey's equitable distribution statute, the court is required to consider 16 different factors when determining the division of assets, including:
- Duration of the marriage
- Age, physical, and emotional health of each spouse
- Each spouse's income and earning capacity
- Established standard of living
- Economic circumstances of each spouse
- Marital debts and liabilities
- Written agreements concerning asset division
- Each spouse's contribution to the marital property (including contributions made by homemakers)
- Any other factors the court deems relevant
Why You Need a New Jersey Asset DivisionAttorney
Asset division isn't straightforward, and going through the process without experienced legal counsel would put you at a serious disadvantage. Here are just a few things we can do to help protect your right to a fair distribution of property:
- Identify assets exempt from equitable division
- Discover if your spouse is hiding assets
- Locate and divide cryptocurrencies
- File relevant motions to hold a spouse accountable for dissipating assets
- Address valuations for items such as houses, cars, or rare collections
- Negotiate an out-of-court asset division agreement
- And much, much more
Request a Private Consultation with our Flemington Divorce Attorneys
Asset division is one of the most complex parts of a New Jersey divorce. Even if you expect the dissolution of your marriage to be amicable, it's important to have an experienced divorce and family law attorney looking out for your rights.
At Carl Taylor Law, LLC, we're committed to providing solutions-oriented legal services that empower you to find your “happily even after”—and ensuring an equitable distribution of marital property is just one way we can assist you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a discrete consultation to find out how our skilled attorneys can help you survive the divorce process.