Gloucester County Equitable Distribution Lawyers Located in Woodbury, NJ
Experienced Woodbury, NJ Equitable Distribution Attorneys Help Clients with Equitable Distribution Matters in Gloucester County and Throughout South Jersey
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine.” There are very few places where that’s less true than in the area of equitable distribution, which is the term used to describe the division of assets and debts acquired by a couple during the marriage.
When couples divorce, an assessment must be made to determine what assets and debts are marital and which aren’t. That house you owned prior to getting married? Perhaps it’s off the table when it comes to distribution. Your 401k that you contributed to while your spouse stayed home taking care of the kids? That’s likely in the pot, despite you being the only person to contribute to it.
Like stars in the sky, the possibilities are endless when it comes to various equitable distribution scenarios. That’s why having the right team on your side is so important. At Smedley Law Group, we know what questions to ask and what arguments to make to ensure that your assets and debts are divided in such a way that takes into consideration your priorities—and brings you closer to your new future.
To learn more about how an experienced Woodbury, NJ equitable distribution lawyer from Smedley Law Group can help, contact our law offices to schedule a consultation today.
Factors Considered by Courts When Dividing Assets in a New Jersey Divorce
New Jersey isn’t a community property state. Rather than focusing on creating a 50-50 split of the assets, the courts instead focus on a fair division of marital property. When determining how to divide the assets, New Jersey courts will consider a variety of different factors. Those factors include:
- The duration of the marriage
- Assets and income brought into the marriage by each party
- The age, as well as physical and emotional health, of each spouse
- The standard of living developed and established during the marriage
- Whether a prenuptial agreement or other arrangement exists and addresses asset division
- The economic circumstances of each party at the time the assets are divided
- The income and earning capacity of each spouse, including educational background, employment opportunities, any absence from the workforce, how child care responsibilities were/are divided, and so on
- The cost of allowing one spouse to gain the skills needed to self-support at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that existing during the marriage
- Whether one spouse contributed to the education or ability of the other spouse to earn a living
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, as well as any contributions as a homemaker
- The tax consequences of any proposed distribution arrangement
- The present value of the property
- The custodial parent’s need to maintain the residence and household effects for the sake of the children
- The debts and liabilities of each spouse
- The need – or reasonably foreseeable future need – for either spouse to pay for medical or education costs, whether for the spouse or a child
- The extent to which either spouse deferred achieving career goals for the sake of the marriage
The courts have considerable discretion in assigning weight to any of these factors. They’re also free to consider any other relevant factors.
Divorcing spouses are, of course, free to reach a reasonable agreement on their own. At Smedley Law Group, our goal is to help you reach a fair and reasonable agreement without the need for expensive court intervention.
What Assets and Debts Are Subject to Equitable Distribution in New Jersey?
For many couples, reaching an agreement with respect to equitable distribution can be emotionally charged. The first step in the process involves identifying the assets you and your spouse share. Assets that are usually subject to equitable distribution in South Jersey include:
- Real estate assets
- Your residence
- Retirement accounts and pension benefits
- Bank accounts
- Brokerage and investment accounts
- Business interests
- Jewelry, artwork and other collectibles
- Social Security and other government benefits.
Upon divorce, you’ll also be required to divide any liabilities you have accumulated. Those might include:
- Credit card debt
- Vehicle loans
- Personal loans
- Tax debts
It’s possible that you’ve reached the point in your marriage where you just want to get the divorce done. We understand, but we never advise rushing. To reach the best outcome possible, it’s always important to take stock of what must be accomplished before your divorce can be finalized.
Our trusted divorce lawyers at Smedley Law Group are here to help. We can work closely with you to facilitate a reasonable and fair equitable distribution plan that works for you. To learn more, give us a call today.
Contact Our Experienced Woodbury, NJ Equitable Distribution Lawyers to Learn More
At Smedley Law Group, we take a practical, results-oriented approach to helping our clients achieve their goals. Our mission is to help you navigate through the challenges of divorce so that you can get to the other side, where a bright new life awaits.
To learn more about our legal practice and how we can help you with equitable distribution in a divorce, contact our New Jersey family law attorneys today. We’ll arrange a time to sit down and discuss your unique situation and goals.
- Locations Served in Gloucester County
- Clayton Deptford Township
- East Greenwich Elk Township
- Franklin Township Glassboro
- Greenwich Township Harrison Township
- Logan Township Mantua Township
- Monroe Township National Park
- Newfield Paulsboro
- Pitman South Harrison
- Swedesboro Washington Township
- Wenonah West Deptford
- Westville Woodbury
- Woodbury Heights Woolwich Township
Frequently Asked Questions About Equitable Distribution of Assets and Debts
The New Jersey courts don’t generally consider whether one party was at fault for the divorce when dividing the assets. However, there are certain circumstances where fault may be relevant. For example, if one spouse “wasted” marital assets through financial irresponsibility or otherwise, the courts may consider those actions in dividing the assets on divorce. In other words, the more responsible spouse may receive a greater portion of the assets to make up for the losses caused by the irresponsible spouse.
Marital property doesn’t include property you owned prior to the marriage. However, you’ll be required to prove that the property was separate property. Additionally, your spouse may try to argue that the property was commingled with the marital property so as to become a part of the marital estate. Gifts or inheritances directly to one spouse are also excluded from marital property. As long as the property remains reasonably separate, separate property remains outside of the marital estate even if it changes form or appreciates in value.