Settling the Division of Assets During Equitable Distribution in Sussex County
Securing your financial future after divorce
During marriage, the financial affairs of spouses are closely intertwined. New Jersey law dictates that most property acquired during marriage is the joint property of the spouses. This means that the issue of equitable distribution is present in just about every divorce that occurs. Even in cases involving short-term marriages and those without large marital estates, the division of assets is often the most complicated aspect of the divorce. At Hollander, Strelzik, Pasculli, Hinkes, Wojcik, Gacquin, Vandenberg & Hontz, L.L.C., our attorneys are committed to helping you get a favorable property settlement so you are secure for the next phase of your life. We can help you maintain a clear position for negotiations and resolve issues with your spouse. If necessary, we argue for your best interests in court.
What is equitable distribution?
Equitable distribution is the legal process of dividing the marital estate during a divorce. Most property acquired by either spouse after marriage is subject to distribution. However, this does not include inheritances given specifically to one spouse or gifts given to one spouse by a third party. These assets and anything purchased with them are considered personal to that spouse. Even if they were acquired during the marriage, they are not subject to the equitable distribution of property if they have been kept separate. Property acquired prior to the marriage, however, can become marital if the spouses commingle their assets. Moreover, if assets such as investments or business interests increase in value during the marriage, that increase may be marital property, even if the original investment was not.
What the court considers
It is usually a good idea to make every reasonable effort to resolve equitable distribution issues outside court through a property settlement agreement. This can speed up the divorce process, decrease the overall cost and ensure you receive the assets you actually want and need. Much like alimony, the rules regarding the division of assets are subjective and somewhat unpredictable, so leaving it up to the court can be risky for both sides. Nevertheless, sometimes it is necessary to litigate when the parties cannot come to an agreement. In these cases, a judge in Sussex or Warren County will try to fairly distribute the marital property after considering several factors:
- The duration of the marriage
- Each spouse’s age and health
- The assets each spouse dedicated to the marriage
- Each spouse’s own assets
- Each spouse’s earning capacity
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage
- Whether a spouse forewent a career for the purposes of the marriage
- The child custody arrangement
- Tax consequences
Marital debts are also subject to equitable distribution. In the case of both property and debt, the distribution may not necessarily be 50/50. Instead, the goal is to fairly address the contributions each spouse made and the needs that he/she will have as a single person.
Contact a Sussex County firm that can help resolve your marital property issues
At Hollander, Strelzik, Pasculli, Hinkes, Wojcik, Gacquin, Vandenberg & Hontz, L.L.C., we try to help you work with your spouse to resolve property issues without the need for lengthy and expensive litigation. Nevertheless, we know your rights and will take the case as far as necessary to get a fair result. Call our Newton office today at 862-273-3465 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.