What Does Equitable Distribution Mean?

When a couple gets divorced and cannot agree on its terms, it is known as a contested divorce. Contested divorces are very often long, emotional, and expensive. Unfortunately, when a couple enters the litigation process, one or both spouses will believe they deserve more than the court decides they are entitled to. The process through which the court will divvy your assets is known as equitable distribution. However, you should know that “equitable” does not always mean “equal.” In fact, equitable, in this context, generally means a fair and just determination in the eyes of the court. If you are getting a divorce, you must hire an experienced attorney who will fight for your assets. Here are some of the questions you may have regarding the equitable distribution process:

What is marital property?

Marital property is defined as the assets you acquire during your marriage, while separate property describes the assets you’ve acquired before or outside of your marriage. Gifts and inheritances are generally defined as separate property. Usually, separate property is exempt from the equitable distribution process, while marital property, on the other hand, is almost always subject to equitable distribution.

How do the courts determine who gets certain assets in a divorce?

Several factors contribute to who gets what in the event of a divorce. Some of the factors the court will most likely consider when calculating how your assets will be distributed are:

  • Whether you need a trust to help cover the cost of reasonably foreseeable medical or educational costs for a child
  • Whether you or your spouse deferred career goals for the benefit of your marriage
  • You and your spouse’s health
  • You and your spouse’s age
  • Your property, as well as income
  • Tax consequences
  • Your respective economic circumstances once your assets are divided
  • The length of your marriage
  • Property settlement agreements
  • Your marital standard of living
  • Whether a spouse contributed to the education or training of another spouse
  • The value of your property
  • You and your spouse’s earning potential
  • Debts and liabilities

How can I protect my assets from a divorce?

To protect your assets, you and your spouse can either draft a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement, or, if you jointly own a business, you may draft a shareholder agreement to help preserve your business-related assets. An experienced attorney can help you draft either of these documents.

Contact our experienced New Jersey firm

Ross and Calandrillo, LLC is a full-service divorce, family, and real estate law firm located in Mountainside, New Jersey. One of the most important things you can do when going through a divorce is to hire a knowledgeable and compassionate divorce attorney. Do not settle for less than you deserve. For strong legal representation in all of your divorce or family law matters, contact Ross and Calandrillo, LLC to schedule a free consultation.