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Property Distribution

Like many other states, New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state.

This means that although many assets and debts are equally divided between spouses at the time of a divorce, some are not. For example, A closely held business owned by one spouse may or may not be equally divided between the spouses. Even real property may not be equally divided. Likewise, debt may not be equally divided, depending on the type of debt and the reasons the debt was incurred.

Examples of assets that are commonly distributed in divorces are:

  • The marital residence and other real estates
  • Separate property owned prior to marriage
  • A closely-held business or professional practice
  • Pensions and retirement accounts
  • Deferred Income benefits such as stock options and restricted stock

There are three steps to dividing assets and debts as part of a divorce.

  1. The asset or debt must be identified.
  2. It must be valued.
  3. It must be divided between the spouses.

While the first step is usually uneventful (unless assets or debts have been hidden), the second step often requires a valuation expert such as a forensic accountant or an expert in a particular asset category such as a closely held business, artwork, real estate or jewelry. The third step involves a determination as to how the asset or debt will be divided such as a lump sum payment, a credit on the marital balance sheet or payment over time, and in each case, the details of each arrangement.

The New Jersey Statute which governs equitable distribution is N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23.1. That statute requires courts to consider, but not be limited to, the following factors when making an equitable distribution of property:

  • The duration of the marriage or civil union
  • The age and physical and emotional health of the parties
  • The income or property brought to the marriage or civil union by each party
  • The standard of living established during the marriage or civil union
  • Any written agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage or civil union concerning an arrangement of property distribution
  • The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property become effective
  • The income and earning capacity of each party, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children, and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage or civil union
  • The contribution by each party to the education, training or earning power of the other
  • The contribution of each party to the acquisition, dissipation, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, or the property acquired during the civil union as well as the contribution of a party as a homemaker
  • The tax consequences of the proposed distribution to each party
  • The present value of the property
  • The need of a parent who has physical custody of a child to own or occupy the marital residence or residence shared by the partners in a civil union couple and to use or own the household effects
  • The debts and liabilities of the parties
  • The need for creation, now or in the future, of a trust fund to secure reasonably foreseeable medical or educational costs for a spouse, partner in a civil union couple or children;
    The extent to which a party deferred achieving their career goals
  • Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.

Importantly, the statutes also state:

“It shall be a rebuttable presumption that each party made a substantial financial or nonfinancial contribution to the acquisition of income and property while the party was married.”

  • Disposition of the marital residence and other real estates
  • Separate property owned prior to marriage
  • Valuation of a closely held business or a professional practice
  • Pensions and retirement accounts
  • Employee Income Deferral benefits such as stock options and restricted stock
  • Valuables personal property
  • Hidden assets or debts
  • Division of marital debt

Burlington County Divorce Lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. Can Stand by You When You Are Facing Trying Family Law Matters

Whether you are crafting a prenuptial agreement or settling division of property, our Burlington County divorce lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. are ready to give you the support you need. Call us at 856-890-9400 or contact us online to schedule an initial, private consultation today. Located in Marlton, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, and Gloucester County.