Equitable Distribution Lawyers in Morristown, New Jersey
Compassionate Equitable Distribution Attorneys Representing Clients in Morris County and Throughout NJ
Going through the process of a divorce is never easy. You may be working through your divorce on an emotional level before you realize it is time to deal with the property aspects relating to your official separation. For many people, this can be one of the most stressful aspects of a divorce, as they might feel pitted against their ex-partner in regards to deciding who gets what, and how to move forward with the division of marital assets and liabilities acquired over the duration of their marriage.
New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, which means that when a couple divorces in Morris County, any marital assets will be divided between the parties according to a system that is perceived as “fair” rather than what is necessarily “equal.” In the ideal case, you and your spouse would reach a settlement agreement as to how marital assets will be divided and move forward. Most divorce cases do not present an ideal scenario, however, and disputes frequently arise when equitable distribution of marital assets comes into play—especially for spouses who have been married for a long period of time.
The Factors Determining Property Division in Mount Olive, Rockaway Township, and Throughout NJ
Division of assets in a New Jersey divorce takes into account all relevant factors in the case but does not depend upon whether one party was technically at fault for the divorce. Courts will consider the following non-exhaustive list of factors:
- Length of the Marriage: Depending on your particular set of circumstances, the courts might determine that your marriage was not long enough to adhere to the same set of rules concerning the equitable distribution of marital property as those who have been married to their partner for decades. If you were in a long-term marriage, the courts are more likely to split your assets and income more evenly; however, this is not always the case. For this reason, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney who can conduct a full accounting of marital assets and liabilities and work closely to protect your rights throughout the equitable distribution process.
- Age, Physical, and Emotional Health: Another factor that will come into consideration is the age, physical, and emotional health of both parties. Age is an important factor due to things like retirement, which becomes a major consideration in the process. In other cases, the party might not be capable of supporting themselves due to physical or emotional health and the court must consider this as well.
- Income and Property: The assets that are brought into a marriage are referred to as premarital assets. When premarital assets such as property or income are brought into the marriage, the court must value these assets to the best of their ability. An aspect that is known as ‘active appreciation’ sometimes comes into play, which is when a premarital asset has increased in value during the length of the marriage. If the parties did not contribute to the appreciation, it is known as passive appreciation and this might not make equitable distribution necessary in these cases.
- Spouse’s Standard of Living: The court does not want to see a spouse struggle while the other spouse goes on living life as they had before the divorce. The standard of living is an important consideration because this can help determine alimony or child support based on who is responsible for the children and taking care of bills and other matters. Financial statements will be viewed so that the courts can come to a determination on these matters to the best of their ability.
- Agreements Made Before the Marriage: If you have entered into a premarital agreement before your marriage, distribution matters might have already been laid out in writing, which you and your spouse signed on at some point. These agreements are held to a high standard by the courts.
- Earning Potential of Both Parties: The economic circumstances and capabilities of both parties will also be considered. They will examine many factors that can play a role in this such as the education, training, employment skills, work experience, and various other factors relating to the earning potential and who has the ability to earn more or less in the marriage based on training and skills they have obtained. This is especially important in cases where one spouse was a stay-at-home parent and does not have the same work and skills experience as another spouse, and might not be afforded the same opportunities.
- Contributions of Both Parties: The courts will determine the contributions of each party in regards to education, training, and earning power of the other spouse. Perhaps one spouse is then expected to pay for the student loans related to the other spouse’s education or which parent stayed at home with the children and the contributions they made in doing so.
Of course, there are many other factors to be considered as well, but these are some of the major factors that you will find in regards to your case when equitable distribution begins in your New Jersey divorce case.
How an Experienced Equitable Distribution Attorney Can Help You in Parsippany, Randolph, and Throughout NJ
When divorce is new to you and every prospect is concerning or complex to you, it is time to speak with an experienced attorney who has dedicated themselves to many family law cases.
At Hanlon Dunn Robertson & Schwartz, we assist clients with equitable distribution in Morris County including Parsippany and Troy Hills Township, Washington Township, Madison, Florham Park, Chatham Township, Montville, Mount Arlington, Morris Plains, Victory Gardens, and Rockaway Borough, NJ. Please contact us today for more information.
FAQ: If my spouse and I agree on our property matters, do we have to use equitable distribution?
No. If you and your spouse are able to agree on these matters, the courts will not engage in equitable distribution. Instead, they will use it only in cases where spouses cannot agree to these matters. The courts will only step in when they are needed.
FAQ: What about gifts? If gifts were given to me, does this mean they could fall victim to equitable distribution and I could lose them to my spouse?
No, gifts will not be a part of equitable distribution. Gifts given to one spouse by a third party are considered to be separate property and will not fall under equitable distribution laws.