For the purposes of a divorce settlement, New Jersey is an equitable property state. Which means that marital property is divided based upon what is fair and not necessarily equally. In determining the equitable distribution of marital property, the court considers many factors including:
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age and physical and emotional health of the parties;
- The income or property brought to the marriage by each party;
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- Any written agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage concerning an arrangement of property distribution;
- The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property becomes effective;
- The income and earning capacity of each party, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children, and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage;
- The contribution by each party to the education, training or earning power of the other;
- The contribution of each party to the acquisition, dissipation, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, as well as the contribution of a party as a homemaker;
- The tax consequences of the proposed distribution to each party;
- The present value of the property;
- The need of a parent who has physical custody of a child to own or occupy the marital residence and to use or own the household effects;
- The debts and liabilities of the parties;
- The need for creation, now or in the future, of a trust fund to secure reasonably foreseeable medical or educational costs for a spouse or children;
- The extent to which a party deferred achieving their career goals; and
- Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.
How the property is divided
Often divorcing couples are able to decide how to divide the marital property and debts and can reach a fair agreement. However, when a couple cannot reach an agreement, the court steps in and decides on the equitable division of marital property.
A fair division is based upon value, rather than physical division, meaning each spouse is awarded a percentage of the total value of the property. The division should result in each spouse getting items whose worth equals his or her percentage.
Only marital property is divided between the spouses and typically includes, all income during the marriage and everything acquired with that income, plus all debts accumulated during the marriage.
Non-marital property is considered the private property of each spouse and may include, gifts, inheritances, and other property owned by the spouse prior to the marriage. An experienced New Jersey family law attorney can answer your questions about what property is marital and non-marital for purposes of property division.
Contact Morgenstern & Rochester online or call (856) 489-6200 and schedule a consultation to discuss your divorce settlement matter.