What Does Equitable Distribution Mean in a New Jersey Divorce?

How Is Marital Property Divided in New Jersey? What Factors Are Considered?

What Does Equitable Distribution Mean in a New Jersey Divorce?When you’re ending a marriage, dividing the debts and assets accumulated over the years can be one of the biggest challenges. You can work out an agreement with your ex, but it will typically have to be submitted to and approved by the court. If you are unable to reach an accord, the judge will typically consider evidence and make a determination of how everything will be allocated.

When ruling on the distribution of the debts and property of a marriage in New Jersey, the courts use the legal principle of equitable distribution. The word “equitable,” however, should not be construed to mean “equal.” Instead, the court will attempt to produce a “fair” allocation of the obligations and assets of the marriage.

The Factors Considered in an Equitable Distribution in New Jersey

When deciding upon a fair division of a marital estate, the courts in New Jersey may consider any or all of the following:

  • The length of time the parties were married
  • The age of the parties at the time of divorce
  • The age and physical health of the parties at the time of divorce
  • The standard of living to which the parties were accustomed
  • Any income or property brought into the marriage by either party
  • Any prenuptial or prior written agreement of the parties regarding the allocation of marital debts and assets
  • The potential earning capacity of each party
  • Any contribution that either party made to the education, training or earning power of the other party during the marriage, or deferred career goals to allow the other party access to education or training
  • The contributions of either party as a homemaker
  • The extent to which either party was involved in the dissipation, depreciation or destruction of marital property, as well as the acquisition, preservation or appreciation of those assets
  • The potential tax consequences of a proposed property settlement
  • The extent to which one of the parties needs to occupy the marital home, such as when there are minor children at the time of divorce
  • The need to set aside funds for the medical or educational expenses of a spouse or child
  • Any other factors the court deems relevant

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