When couples decide to part ways, the division of marital assets becomes a significant aspect of the process.
This step is necessary to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of wealth.
Equitable distribution principle
In New Jersey, marital asset division adheres to the equitable distribution principle. This principle mandates a fair, but not necessarily equal, division of assets between the spouses. It acknowledges that each marriage is unique, and the circumstances surrounding it should dictate the distribution of assets.
First, it is important to classify assets into marital and separate categories. Marital assets typically include all property and wealth acquired during the marriage, whereas separate assets are those acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gift. Identifying the nature of assets helps establish what is subject to distribution.
Economic and non-economic contributions
The court will evaluate both economic and non-economic contributions made by each spouse during the marriage. Economic contributions encompass financial support, while non-economic contributions may involve homemaking or child-rearing responsibilities. The courts weigh both aspects to ensure recognition of each party’s efforts for a fair assessment.
Length of the marriage
The duration of the marriage is a significant consideration in asset division. Shorter marriages may lead to a more equitable split, as there might be less intertwining of financial affairs. Longer marriages often result in more complex asset division, as couples accumulate a greater number of shared assets over time.
New Jersey had a divorce rate in 2021 of 2.2 per 1,000 people. If you are getting a divorce, it is important to understand how the courts distribute marital assets so you can navigate this process with confidence and clarity.