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

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