Splitting assets and debts acquired during a marriage is a key aspect of divorce in New Jersey. In many cases, property division is a complicated process that can easily give rise to disputes. When it does, a divorce case can get heated fast. It may also end up costing more and taking longer without the help of an experienced attorney to guide and advise you through this essential phase of divorce.
The Red Bank divorce lawyers at Dwyer, Bachman, Newman & Solop Attorneys at Law have vast experience with property division in dissolution cases. We are ready to explain your rights, protect your interests, and help you achieve your objectives—and favorable resolutions—in a Monmouth County divorce case.
Marital property includes the assets and debts that spouses accumulated during a marriage. In contrast, separate property is anything, assets or liabilities, that either individual spouse had before getting married.
Here, it’s important to note that there are exceptions to marital property laws in New Jersey. For example, assets acquired during a marriage will not be considered to be part of the marital estate during a divorce if:
- They were inherited by or gifted to a spouse.
- There is a valid prenuptial agreement or post-nuptial agreement in place and that agreement states certain property acquired during the marriage (like business assets) will remain separate.
On paper, all of this can seem simple. In reality, it can be very tricky, particularly when issues, like (but not limited to,) the following are involved:
- Separate and marital property are co-mingled: Blurring the lines of ownership, the co-mingling property can occur when separately owned funds are invested in marital property. For example, putting an inheritance into a joint bank account would co-mingle separate and marital property, potentially making it harder to divide that property up in a divorce case.
- One spouse contributed to the appreciation of the other spouse’s property: This may be a factor with a home or a business, for instance, when one spouse may invest time, energy, and/or money into enhancing or growing a separately owned asset.
There are two ways that marital property can be divided during a divorce case in Monmouth County:
- Exes agree on how to split their shared assets and debts: When there are no disputes about how to divide up the marital property, divorcing parties can make these decisions on their own, and the court will typically review and approve the final property division agreement. Couples who agree on the validity of their prenuptial agreement or who have very little marital property usually go this route.
- The court divides up the marital property: If divorcing parties do not agree about any aspect of how the marital property should be divided in their divorce, the court will intervene to make a final decision on the matter. Per New Jersey law, the court will focus on making an equitable distribution. Equitable means fair, not even. This stands as a contrast to community property states, which focus on splitting marital property 50-50 between divorcing parties.
Whether or not the family courts step in to resolve disputes over the marital property in a divorce, this aspect of dissolution can usually involve the following steps.
- The marital property is inventoried.This first step establishes the scope of the marital assets and debts, listing out every item that comprises the marital estate. For high-net-worth divorce cases, this can be an involved process, especially when assets are abroad.
- The marital property is appraised.Assessing the value of the marital property will be the next step. Depending on what assets the marital estate includes, experts may be needed to provide appraisals and property evaluations at this phase of the process.
- The marital property is divvied up between the divorcing parties.Once the scope and value of the marital estate are clear, the assets and debts will be distributed between each ex in a manner that is “fair.” To determine what constitutes a fair division of marital property, family courts in New Jersey will consider several factors. Some of these include:
- The duration of the marriage and the standard of living maintained during the course of the marriage
- The age, physical health, and psychological health of each spouse
- The economic circumstances and earning potential of each spouse
- The debts and liabilities each spouse has individually
- The contributions either spouse made to the acquisition, appreciation, or loss of the marital property
Clearly, the process of dividing marital property is complex, and the stakes can be high. To make sure you get a fair, favorable division of marital property in a divorce, contact Dwyer, Bachman, Newman & Solop Attorneys at Law.
When it comes to property division in Monmouth County divorce, don’t compromise your rights or financial future by trying to figure it out alone. Make sure you have an experienced attorney in your corner, helping you make the best choices while safeguarding your rights during the property division process. Make sure you have a trusted Red Bank divorce lawyer from Dwyer, Bachman, Newman & Solop Attorneys at Law on your side.
Call (732) 863-2463 or contact us online now for confidential advice about your divorce case.
As a boutique family law firm, we specialize in divorce cases, and our top-rated Monmouth County attorneys have more than 100 years of combined family law experience. That has empowered us with a deep understanding of the law, the best strategies to use in divorce cases, and the skills to be highly effective advocates for our clients in and after divorce. And that is how we are exceptional allies for our clients, helping them with all matters in divorce cases, like (but not limited to):
- Anticipating and overcoming the challenges in their case
- Balancing their emotional and financial needs
- Determining out the best strategies at each phase
- Championing their rights in and outside the courtroom
- Building the strongest possible divorce cases while setting them up for the best possible outcome
Ultimately, our goal is to help you protect what matters most in divorce while bringing your case to a favorable resolution. From offices based in Red Banks and Old Bridge Township, our family lawyers offer the highest-quality divorce representation to clients throughout Monmouth County.