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How is property divided in a New Jersey divorce?

During your marriage, you and your spouse likely acquired property and assets together. From your home to your vehicles, from collectibles to financial accounts, your marital estate may be significant. Yet, if you two are now divorcing, you will have to divide these assets, and you will likely feel concerned about the share you will receive. By learning how New Jersey approaches property division, though, you will have a better idea of what you may be entitled to and what to expect.

Understanding how equitable distribution works

Like most states, New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution rules dictate that marital property will divide in a manner fair to the circumstances of each party in a divorcing couple. This division is unlikely to be an even 50/50 split.

If you and your spouse are litigating your divorce, the court will divide your marital property by weighing factors related to your marital standard of living and future circumstances. If you and your spouse work out your own property division agreement, the court will still use these factors to determine whether to approve it. In either case, these factors include:

  • How long your marriage lasted
  • The value of your marital property
  • Whether you and your spouse have a written agreement – like a prenuptial agreement – that sets forth how you would divide your property
  • Whether you and your spouse have any debts
  • Your and your spouse’s age and health
  • Your and your spouse’s contributions – both economic and noneconomic – to your marital property
  • Your and your spouse’s current economic circumstances
  • Your and your spouse’s income and earning capacity
  • Your marital standard of living

Understanding what counts as separate property

Certain assets that you and your spouse own will count as separate property and will remain indivisible in your divorce. Among these assets are those that both of you held before your marriage, unless you commingled them, as well as those you acquired after filing for divorce. Any inheritance that you or your spouse received during your marriage will count as separate property as well. And any gifts you or your spouse received during your marriage will also likely qualify as separate property, except for those made between you two.

Attorney Michael McGuire represents clients throughout the state of New Jersey. Contact the Freehold office of Law Office of Michael P. McGuire, LLC by sending an email or calling the office directly at 732-704-7331.