It can be a difficult time whenever a couple is in the process of getting a divorce. The process is often emotionally and financially draining, especially when it comes to dividing property. The situation can quickly escalate into a contentious dispute between both spouses. Whenever a couple cannot settle these matters on their own, a court will step in to decide what would be a fair and equal split of assets. However, depending on the state, how a court rules on the division of property can vary. Typically, each state can be classified as an equitable distribution state or a community property state. New Jersey would be categorized as an equitable distribution state, which means that property in divorce cases is divided based on a variety of factors.
On the other hand, community property states generally start on the premise that marital property should be split equally, although there are exceptions to this. If you and your spouse are thinking of filing for a divorce, get in touch with a Union County divorce attorney at Ross & Calandrillo, LLC for more information about your next steps.
How is property divided in an equitable distribution state?
In an equitable distribution state, courts will look at essential factors to ensure the division of property has a fair outcome. This can include income, health, age, the value of each spouse’s separate property, and the value of their marital property. In divorce cases, property can usually be distinguished as either separate property or community property. Separate property is defined as property that was obtained by a spouse outside of marriage, while marital property is any property acquired throughout the marriage. Most courts will focus on the division of marital property; allowing each spouse to retain their separate property. Although, depending on the circumstances, separate property will sometimes need to be involved to achieve a fair settlement.
How is property divided in a community property state?
In a community property state, marital property is treated as a 50/50 split between each spouse. Other relevant factors, such as the financial situation of each spouse, are typically given less consideration compared to equitable distribution states. However, that does not mean there are no exceptions to this. Depending on state laws, some community property states function similarly to equitable distribution states. For example, while separate property generally remains untouched, some courts may include it if the 50/50 division of marital property is insufficient to reach an equitable outcome. Dividing property can get complicated in divorces, which is why it is paramount to have an experienced divorce lawyer by your side to guide you through the process.