When a couple goes through a divorce, they have many things to consider. There are many legal matters that must be taken care of before the spouses may go their separate ways. An important part of divorce proceedings is deciding how to divide a couple’s assets between the two of them. Sometimes, spouses are able to come to a decision on their own terms outside of a courtroom. Other times, they may disagree about what belongs to whom and need the help of the court to settle their disagreements. An experienced attorney in Monmouth County, New Jersey can guide you through your divorce proceedings.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
When a couple goes to court in order to divide their assets, a judge will be assigned to make the decisions for them. To do this, a judge must designate what is marital property and what is separate property. The differences between the two are:
- Marital Property: Any assets and debts gathered during the marriage. Properties from before the marriage that were converted into marital property are also included.
- Separate Property: Any assets and debts gathered before the marriage and agreed to stay as separate property. This may include other properties, gifts, and inheritance.
Many people believe that assets are distributed equally in the event of a divorce. However, this is not always the case. New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state. This means the state does not divide a couple’s assets 50/50. It means they divide the assets in a fair and just way. In order for a judge to do so, they may consider other factors relating to the spouses. This may include:
- The age and health of each spouse
- The duration of the marriage
- Economic circumstances
- Each spouse’s contribution to marital property
- Any tax consequence that may apply
Typically, judges do not consider if there is a marital fault in the divorce. This means they do not consider if one spouse is the reason for the end of the marriage. While this may be true, a judge may consider if there is an economic fault. If one spouse handles their assets irresponsible, a judge may distribute assets in favor of the more responsible spouse.
Couples often seek other methods outside of a trail when going through a divorce. While this may not work for some couples, others are able to come to an amicable agreement regarding their marital issues through negotiation. During mediation, there is an unbiased third party to listen to both spouses’ concerns and help them come to an agreement that works best for them. This allows the couples an opportunity to work out their divorce without the help of the court.
Contact our Firm
If you are going through a divorce and wish to speak with an attorney about your division of assets, contact the Law Offices of Paone Zaleski & Murphy today.
If you require strong legal representation for matters of divorce and family law in New Jersey, contact The Law Offices of Paone, Zaleski & Murphy to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.