How does marital property get divided?

Spouses have to go through the process of splitting their marital property during divorce proceedings. Since some possessions may have sentimental value, it can be hard to let some of these items go. These situations can become even more complex when spouses have a high net worth involved. Whether this involves a single spouse with a high net worth or both, there are may be more assets to account for. This can make the process even more time-consuming.

How does equitable distribution divide assets between spouses?

The state of New Jersey practices equitable distribution in divorce cases. Through equitable distribution, there is a fair and just allocation of marital assets between spouses. However, this does not mean that the distribution of assets will be equal for each party. The final decision on the distribution is made by a judge after they consider many factors.

Since high net worth individuals possess more assets, the division of these can require more time. These divorces can be impacted by prenuptial agreements, 401(k) plans, defined benefit pension plans, IRAs, restricted stock or stock options, business ownership, professional licenses, involved tax structures and planning, offshore assets, bonuses that do not vest immediately, real estate holdings and widespread investments. From all these factors, the net worth of an individual or the joint marriage can be evaluated.

Whether you are the high net worth spouse or the opposing party is, you should seek legal counsel to aid in the process. As someone with a high net worth, you want to make sure that your rights are protected and you are not being taken advantage of. Furthermore, you may have to face an investigation into your assets to disclose your final net worth. If you are the opposing party with a spouse that has a high net worth, you should also have someone working to provide a better outcome for you.

What do judges consider when distributing marital property?

To fairly distribute marital property, judges must consider a range of factors involved in a marriage. These factors include the duration of the marriage, the age of both parties, the health of both parties, the income or property brought to the marriage by each spouse, the established standard of living, any written agreements made before or during the marriage relating to property distribution, economic circumstances of each party, the income and earning capacity of each party and much more.

When assets are acquired before marriage, these may be considered as separate property. Assets considered to be separate property may not be involved in the equitable distribution between spouses. Also, assets that were given as a gift or as part of an inheritance are not included in equitable distribution discussions either.

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