What is Marital Property in a New Jersey Divorce?

When a couple goes through a divorce, a significant part of the proceedings includes dividing property between the two spouses. To accomplish this, the property is broken down into two main categories. This includes marital property and separate property. This division can impact both parties’ futures in many ways. Continue reading below and retain the services of an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney to learn more. 

What is Considered Marital Property?

Marital property consists of the property that a couple acquired throughout their marriage. This can include a home, automobiles, certain financial accounts, family heirlooms, and more. These assets can be divided between the two spouses during the proceedings. However, the assets that were acquired before the marriage cannot be. While this is true, there are some exceptions that spouses should be aware of, including: 

  • Gifts are usually not categorized as marital property. However, if the gift was later enhanced during the marriage by either spouse, it may be subject to division.
  • Retirement assets that were held before the marriage that appreciated or were contributed to by either spouses throughout the marriage may be subject to distribution. , 
  • Any property included in the prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreement, or cohabitation agreement that was deemed as marital property, even if it was acquired before the marriage.
  • Trust funds, inheritances, and other assets that were gained through intestate succession are not considered marital property.

What is Equitable Distribution?

The state of New Jersey distributes assets between two spouses based on equitable distribution. While many believe this means a 50/50 split, this is not always the case. Instead, equitable distribution is a fair and just division of the assets between the spouses. This is done by using a complex formula that determines which assets a person is entitled to. The formula factors in the contributions that each spouse has made to their wealth and marital assets. This can include either financial contributions or time invested in caring for the assets. The court may also consider if a non-owning spouse increased the value of the asset. It is because of this that simply because an asset is considered marital property, does not necessarily mean that a spouse is entitled to half of it. In some cases, separate property may be considered marital property and be subject to distribution. 

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.