Dividing Business Assets in a New Jersey Divorce

Are Business Assets Part of the Marital Estate?

Divorce from Bed and Board in New JerseyIn New Jersey divorce proceedings, the legal principle of equitable distribution applies to the division of marital debts and assets. Equitable distribution mandates that property accumulated during the marriage be “fairly” allocated upon its dissolution, but that does not mean the property must be divided equally. Assets subject to equitable distribution include real and personal property, financial accounts and investments, retirement assets, and business interests.

What Business Assets Are Part of the Marital Estate?

When determining whether a business asset belongs in a marital estate, the first question is whether it was acquired before marriage by only one party (in which case, it’s considered separate property) or acquired during the marriage (in which case, it’s marital property). Business property also can be separate property if acquired after the filing of a divorce complaint. Accordingly, any business interests that one spouse held or owned prior to marriage, or after filing for divorce, remain the sole property of that party.

It’s important to understand, though, that business property brought into the marriage by one party can become marital property, depending on how it’s used, created, or treated during the marriage. For example, suppose one spouse solely owns and operates a business before marriage, and then, once married, the other spouse quits their job and invests time, money, or energy into developing the business. If it can be shown that both parties directly participated in growing and increasing the value of the business during the marriage, the court might consider it a marital asset.

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Family Law Attorney

At the law office of David M. Lipshutz, we won’t take your case unless we know we can help. For a private meeting, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The Division of Marital Property in New Jersey

The Division of Marital Property in New JerseyIn a divorce proceeding, particularly when there are substantial marital debts and assets, one of the most challenging tasks to be completed is the determination of who receives certain property and how the debt is allocated. There are generally two approaches to the division of marital property—equitable distribution and community property laws. New Jersey follows the legal principle of equitable distribution.

The Factors Used to Distribute Marital Property in New Jersey

Under the concept of equitable distribution, if the parties cannot work out their own agreement regarding debts and assets, the court will establish the terms of the property division. Equitable distribution requires that the court divide assets “fairly,” but not necessarily equally. Among the many factors that the court can consider when allocating debts and assets are:

  • the length of time the parties have been married
  • the age of both parties
  • the physical and emotional health of the parties
  • the standard of living to which the parties were accustomed during the marriage
  • any prenuptial or other written agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage concerning an arrangement of property distribution
  • the economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property becomes effective
  • the income and earning capacity of each party, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children, and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage
  • the contribution by each party to the education, training or earning power of the other
  • the income or property brought to the marriage by each party
  • the contribution of each party to the acquisition, dissipation, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, as well as the contribution of a party as a homemaker
  • the tax consequences of the proposed distribution to each party
  • the present value of the property
  • the need of a parent who has physical custody of a child to own or occupy the marital residence and to use or own the household effects
  • the debts and liabilities of the parties
  • the need for creation, now or in the future, of a trust fund to secure reasonably foreseeable medical or educational costs for a spouse or children
  • the extent to which a party deferred achieving their career goals
  • any other factors which the court may deem relevant.

Contact Attorney David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.

Allocation of Income Tax Exemptions For Children and Deductions For Real Estate – An Often Overlooked But Important Issue In Divorce and Separation Situations

calculator-385506_640Many people in divorce and separation proceedings simply assume (1) the primary custodial parent of a child receives the child’s income tax exemption and (2) the party living in a house or condo receives that property’s deductions (e.g., real estate taxes, mortgage interest).

Those are the general rules – but parties can negotiate a different result and courts can order a different result, if asked.

When exemptions and deductions are negotiated, they are often evenly divided.  If there are two children each parent takes one, or if there is one child the parties alternate taking the child every other year.  The real estate deductions can be divided similarly.

As your attorney, I can also use the exemptions and deductions to “trade off” for something else that’s important to you.

Contact Our Divorce and Family Law Practice

To set up an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you weekdays between 9 am and 5 pm. We won’t take your case unless we know we can help.