How are marital and separate property categorized?

When divorces occur, there are decisions to be made regarding the property of each spouse. At this time, assets may be divided into marital property and separate property. This can be used to determine what assets are left to equitable distribution for division. Separate property may not be included in the division of assets since it is only owned by one spouse. This can be property that the spouse had acquired previous to the marriage. Assets that were acquired prior to the marriage between two individuals are not involved in the equitable distribution. Also, assets that were given as a gift or as part of an inheritance are not included in equitable distribution between the couple either. Marital property may be involved in the process of equitable distribution. This property was acquired as a result of the marriage or during the time people were married. When businesses are involved in the marriage, couples may have different shares that need to be divided. If the business started with one individual spouse then became successful during the marriage, it may be up for distribution unless otherwise stated in a prenuptial agreement.

How can this process be complicated?

The distribution of assets in divorce can be impacted by prenuptial agreements, 401(k) plans, defined benefit pension plans, IRAs, restricted stock or stock options, business ownership, professional licenses, involved tax structures and planning, offshore assets, bonuses that do not vest immediately, real estate holdings and widespread investments. All these factors can add up to create an individual with a high net worth. Whether you are the high net worth spouse or the opposing party is, you should seek legal counsel to acquire what you are entitled to.

Other than equitable distribution, there are more factors that are considered by judges when they are deciding on how to distribute the assets in divorce. These factors can include the duration of the marriage, the age of both parties, the health of both parties, the income or property brought to the marriage by each spouse, the established standard of living, any written agreements made before or during the marriage relating to property distribution, economic circumstances of each party, the income and earning capacity of each party and much more. By considering these factors, a judge may be able to make more fair decisions for the case.

If you require strong legal representation for matters of divorce and family law in New Jersey, contact The Law Offices of Paone, Zaleski & Murray to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.