When a couple decides to divorce, there are several matters to take care of before each spouse can go their separate way. One of the most important things for a couple to handle is splitting their assets between the two of them. In some cases, a couple can come to an amicable decision about their assets amongst themselves and leave it out of court. Other times, one spouse may feel entitled to certain assets and the couple might argue about how to divide their lives. When this happens, a couple may have to go to court in order to settle their asset disagreements.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
If a couple goes to court to divide their assets, a judge may decide which assets a spouse may receive. These decisions are made by deciphering what is marital property and what is separate property. The differences between the two are:
- Marital Property: This property covers any assets and debts obtained during the marriage by both spouses. Marital property also includes any property from before the marriage that was agreed upon as marital property.
- Separate Property: This property covers any assets and debts obtained before the marriage and agreed to stay separate. This may include other properties, gifts, and inheritance.
The state of New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state. While many may believe that assets are distributed equally, this is not always the case. Equitable distribution is splitting a couple’s assets in a just and fair way. New York State courts consider several factors before dividing marital property fairly. Some factors may include:
- The age and health of each spouse
- The duration of the marriage
- Economic circumstances
- Each spouse’s contribution to marital property
- Any tax consequence that may apply
When courts equitably distribute assets, they usually do not consider marital fault. This means that when they are deciding what is fair, they will not be swayed if a spouse is at fault for the end of the marriage. Instead, state courts may consider an economic fault. If one spouse is irresponsible with their assets, a court may sway in the favor of the other spouse.
Mediation is often used to help couples while divorcing. If gives separating spouses an opportunity to come together outside of court to work on dividing their assets. In mediation, both spouses negotiate on these issues and come to an agreement that works for their situation. Mediation can save money for the couple as well as the court.
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If you are going through a divorce and wish to speak with an attorney about your division of assets, contact Ross & Calandrillo, LLC. today.
Ross and Calandrillo, LLC is a full-service divorce, family, and real estate law firm located in Mountainside, New Jersey. For strong legal representation in all of your divorce or family law matters, contact Ross and Calandrillo, LLC to schedule a consultation.