Many people believe that marital assets are divided evenly between the two parties in the event of a divorce, but that’s not always the case. New Jersey is an equitable division state, which means the assets are divided fairly, but not necessarily equally between the two spouses. Sometimes, the court finds that it is fair to split the assets 50-50. But in many cases, the court finds that an unequal distribution of assets is warranted. Here’s what you need to know about this process:
Identifying and Valuing the Assets
The court must identify all of the couple’s assets prior to deciding how to divide them. However, the court is only concerned with the couple’s marital assets, not their separate property since these assets are not subject to division.
Next, the court must calculate the value of each of the couple’s marital assets. The valuation process may involve looking at bank statements, consulting with professional appraisers, or analyzing the market to determine how much each asset is worth. Now, the judge has the information he needs to decide how to move forward with the distribution of assets.
How the Court Decides How to Divide Marital Assets
The judge presiding over the case will consider a number of factors when determining how to divide the assets. Some of these factors include:
- The length of the marriage
- Each party’s income and earning capacity
- The physical and emotional health of each spouse
- The value of separate property owned by each spouse
- The standard of living both spouses enjoyed during the course of the marriage
- Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements
- How each party contributed to the marriage
- The tax consequences of awarding assets
For example, let’s say a couple is getting divorced after one year of marriage. During their short marriage, the couple acquired a number of valuable assets. The judge finds that only one spouse contributed to the acquisition of these assets, and the other spouse did not contribute much to the relationship at all, financially or otherwise. Because of the lack of contribution and duration of the marriage, the judge may find that a 50-50 split is not fair. Instead, the judge may award the majority of the marital assets to the spouse who acquired them.
No one who is getting divorced should ever discuss the distribution of assets without an attorney by their side. The experienced family law attorneys at Williams Law Group will aggressively fight to ensure you are awarded a fair share of the marital assets. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at [email protected], or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.