After couples file for divorce, there are still many decisions that must be made. Filing for divorce may be one of the hardest decisions, but the decisions that are left to be made may cause more turmoil between spouses. During these times, couples are experiencing enough emotional distress. Now, they must also start thinking about more practical decisions. This includes the division of assets. While some couples may be able to do this in mediation, it can be hard for others to reach an agreed upon decision. Due to this, the court can become involved. When the court is involved, they practice equitable distribution.
Equitable distribution is a concept that courts use when dividing marital assets between spouses. The state of New Jersey continues to practice equitable distribution. This means that the judge will assess determining factors to divide the assets in a fair and just manner. However, equitable distribution does not mean equal. The possessions will not be split into two and handed to each spouse equally. Instead, the judge will assess factors, such as each party’s contribution to the marital property, their health, their age, tax consequences and economic status associated with each party. After considering these factors, the judge will make their decision, which can be vastly different for each individual case that they are given.
How are marital property and separate property organized?
Before dividing assets between spouses, the court will determine the difference between marital assets and separate assets. Marital property is considered to be assets that are acquired during the marriage between the two spouses. These assets are left to the decision of the court in how they are divided between the two parties. In comparison, separate property is something that was not a part of the marriage. This may include a spouse’s inheritance or any personal gifts.
How can fault in a marriage impact distribution?
With cases that decide the division of assets between spouses, it may not be impacted by the fault declared for the divorce. Since equitable distribution is the law that New Jersey follows, this is what they consider most during these cases. However, economic impact related to the fault claim may be necessary to consider. If a spouse was to waste away assets in preparation of a divorce, it may have an impact on the division of assets. Each case is decided on specifically by a judge, which makes them unique in the way that assets are divided.
If you require compassionate and knowledgeable legal guidance for a matter of divorce, family or estate law, please contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley today. Our firm proudly serves clients in Mansfield, Massachusetts and throughout Bristol County.