Livingston Property Division Lawyer
Splitting two previously joint lives often means navigating the complex laws applicable to dividing shared property. New Jersey courts may consider any relevant factors when distributing marital assets to ensure a fair and just outcome. Local divorce attorneys could help couples understand how their unique case may affect their marital property rights.
You may reduce stress and save money by working with a Livingston property division lawyer to draft an asset distribution settlement. Spouses with substantial property interests, shared businesses, or special needs children should consider retaining independent legal counsel during equitable distribution proceedings.
Distinguishing Between Separate and Marital Property in Livingston
Before entering a property distribution order, courts must separate the parties’ assets and liabilities into categories. Judges may only divide and distribute jointly owned property, or marital property. Once assets and liabilities are categorized, courts typically request spouses attend economic mediation with a qualified attorney to negotiate a distribution settlement.
Title 2A, §34-23(h) of New Jersey’s statutes states that property obtained by either spouse during the marriage becomes part of the marital estate unless an exception applies. The following real and personal assets qualify as the individual or separate property of one spouse:
- Inheritance in the name of an individual spouse
- Gifts to one spouse from someone other than the other spouse
- Any property described as a separate asset in a prenuptial or postmarital agreement
- Assets and liabilities obtained by one spouse before the marriage
Disputes necessitating qualified legal counsel often arise when separate and marital assets mix, such as using an inheritance to improve the couple’s marital home. Spouses may work with their lawyers to identify co-mingled assets during mediation and request judicial intervention if they cannot agree on a distribution strategy.
Factors Considered When Distributing Marital Property
New Jersey follows traditional equitable distribution principles when dividing marital property. While the parties may use 50/50 division as a starting point, the state does not necessitate an equal split of marital assets. Courts strive to divide property fairly based on the factors outlined in N.J. Rev. Stat. § 2A:34–23.1, which include:
- The age and overall physical and emotional health of the spouses
- The marriage’s length
- The amount of income and individual property brought into the marriage
- The potential economic circumstances of the parties following distribution and divorce
- The contributions of either party to improving and increasing the value of marital property
- The needs of a parent with primary physical custody of shared children
- The overall debts and liabilities of the parties
- Each spouse’s current income and potential earning capacity
Judges may consider any additional factors raised by legal counsel, including whether one party deferred their education to support the other, tax consequences associated with liquidation and distribution, and any instances of domestic violence. They must also analyze and consider any prenuptial agreements addressing distribution. An attorney in Livingston could help spouses analyze the state’s property division criteria and advocate for a fair and equitable outcome.
Situations Potentially Resulting in Unequal Property Division
If one spouse seriously harmed or threatened to injure the other, judges may not award that spouse any marital assets. Courts may also award one spouse a larger portion of the marital estate if the other party wasted or misused joint assets by gambling, transferred them fraudulently, or spent money on an affair.
Additionally, property distribution frequently connects with child custody arrangements, especially when one spouse was a stay-at-home parent or if the couple shared children that have special needs. In these situations, courts may award one parent interest in the marital home but give the other authority to live in and manage the property while raising the children. Divorcing spouses should think about retaining a local attorney during property division disputes if any special circumstances exist.
Consider Speaking with a Livingston Property Division Attorney
The longer you were married, the more complex the asset distribution process can be. A Livingston property division lawyer could advocate for a just and fair outcome following a divorce, especially if significant disputes arise during this process. Contact our compassionate legal team today to get started on your case.