What is the Equitable Distribution Process Like in New Jersey?

If you are getting divorced, there is a very good chance your assets will be subjected to the equitable distribution process. Simply put, equitable distribution rarely means a 50/50 split of your assets, and instead refers more to a “fair and just” division of assets in the eyes of the court. Unfortunately, spouses seldom feel satisfied with the outcome of the equitable distribution process, which is why it is crucial that if you are in this situation, you must read on and reach out to an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney to learn more about how we can help you through the legal process going forward. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What is the difference between marital and separate property?

New Jersey courts generally break your assets down into two types of property: marital and separate property. Marital property, on one hand, is all property accumulated during your marriage. This can include your house, car, furniture, retirement benefits, and more. On the other hand, separate property generally refers to property acquired outside of or prior to your marriage, which may include gifts or inheritances. While separate property is generally considered exempt from the equitable distribution process, marital property is not. This means that in a contested divorce, you may lose your house, which is oftentimes a spouse’s worst nightmare.

What are some of the factors that can decide the outcome of a divorce?

New Jersey courts consider several factors before determining who gets what. Some of the most important factors in divorce can include you and your spouse’s yearly incomes, your health and age, the value of your property, any child custody terms, the financial standard of living established in your marriage, whether one spouse is financially dependent, and more.

Can I protect some of my assets from a divorce?

Fortunately, there are ways in which spouses can protect certain assets from the perils of the equitable distribution process. For example, couples may draft a prenuptial agreement before their marriage. A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding document that can clearly state which assets belong to you, and which assets belong to your spouse. If you get divorced, the document will ensure you get what’s rightfully yours. On the other hand, if you are already married, you may draft a postnuptial agreement, which essentially serves the same purpose, though it is drafted after marriage.

Contact our experienced New Jersey firm

The law firm of Mattleman, Weinroth & Miller, P.C., is composed of experienced defense attorneys throughout the state of New Jersey. We understand the severity and immediacy of all personal injury claims and additional legal matters, and we provide each of our clients with compassionate and aggressive legal assistance, every step of the way. Please contact our office for a free initial consultation and get any questions answered regarding your legal case.