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Equitable distribution of property in divorce can be complicated

Ending a marriage in New Jersey, as in other states, is never easy. Along with all the emotional challenges, there is the stressful process of property division. When it is a person's first time to divorce, there may be many questions and a never-ending stream of well-intended advice provided by friends and family.

In New Jersey, property division is governed by equitable distribution laws. This means that all assets acquired by both parties during a marriage are to be divided equitably, and property gathered before the marriage will remain that of the person in whose name it was originally. However, if funds related to a personal asset were commingled with marital assets, it will become subject to division.

A house bought by a couple during their marriage will be subject to division, but a house inherited by one spouse during the marriage will be the property of the heir. Dividing assets in an equitable property state may not necessarily be equal, but it is generally fair. Couples need not leave the division to be done by the court. Together, they may decide how they want to share their property, and the court will want to see that their agreement is fair.

When the court has to make these decisions, a variety of factors will be considered, such as the number of years the marriage lasted, the ages and health conditions of both parties, and more. It is important to be fully informed before making decisions that may impact on the remainder of a person's life, and the most appropriate step might be to consult with an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney. A lawyer can explain the procedures, answer questions and provide guidance throughout the legal proceedings.

Source: divorcedmoms.com, "The Difference Between Community Property and Equitable Distribution When Dividing Marital Property", Jeff Landers, Accessed on June 18, 2016

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