What is Equitable Distribution in a Divorce?

The process of going through a divorce is often difficult and emotionally exhausting. This is because it requires separating two lives that were brought together over a period of time. Part of this process is the division of the couple’s assets between the two of them. While many people believe a couple’s assets are distributed equally between them, this is not always the case. Instead, the state of New Jersey follows that is known as “equitable distribution.” This means the couple’s assets are divided in a way that is fair and just. During this time, it can be beneficial for a spouse to retain the services of an experienced attorney to protect their assets.

Divison of Property

There are some cases in which a couple may be able to divide their assets amongst themselves. Other times, they may need the assistance of the court. When a judge is given the right to divide a couple’s assets, they must determine which assets are marital property and which are separate property. Marital property consists of assets that were acquired during the marriage or converted into both spouses’ property. Separate property is assets that were acquired before the marriage and agreed to stay their own.

How do courts divide assets in a divorce?

A couple’s marital property is generally distributed equitably between them. However, separate property is not. This is because those assets are considered the belongings of the individual, not the couple. While determining this division, a judge may also consider a variety of other factors. This can include their ages, earnings, debts, liabilities, tax consequences, economic status, and more.

How can I protect my assets from a divorce?

Going through a divorce can be a difficult time in a person’s life. Often times, they are not usually prepared for it and their assets are not protected. However, it is important to know that this can be avoided. Couples are able to prepare for what may happen to their assets in the event of a divorce with a prenuptial agreement. This is a document that outlines which assets belong to whom if they decide to divorce. This agreement is signed before the marriage is officiated. If the couple wishes to create a plan for their assets after they are already married, this can be done with a postnuptial agreement. This document serves the same purpose as a prenuptial agreement, only it is signed after the marriage is final. If a couple is involved in a business together, they can draft a shareholder agreement to establish how each spouse’s interest in the business would be divided in a divorce.

Contact our Firm

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.