Somerset County Asset Division Lawyers
Also Serving Morris County, Union County, Middlesex County & Essex County
One step in the divorce process is the division of marital assets, such as real estate, bank accounts, investments, pensions, IRAs, 401ks and other retirement assets, personal property, and business interests. Not all assets are always obvious or disclosed.
For these and other reasons, you should consult with the experienced Central New Jersey asset division lawyers at our firm regarding complex issues including valuation, division, and distribution of:
- Retirement assets — Pension plans, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans and IRA accounts
- Investments — Securities, stocks and stock options, investments, bonds, mutual funds, and other portfolio holdings
- Real property — Your home, vacation homes, timeshares, investment properties, land, and other real estate
- Personal property — Jewelry, artwork, cars, and other tangible property acquired during the marriage
- Complex professional and business interests
- Debts and liabilities
Often mortgages, home equity lines of credit, auto loans, charge accounts/credit cards, and other liabilities need to be addressed and allocated. Here at Lane & Lane, LLC, we focus on a fair and equitable allocation of all such liabilities.
What am I Entitled to in a Divorce in NJ?
The state of New Jersey divides property from a divorce using equitable distribution. This basically means that any property that is acquired during the marriage (marital property) will be dispersed to each party based on what is deemed fair and just. This does not mean it will be a 50/50 split, the court will examine many factors that help influence the decision, including:
- The length of the marriage
- The contributions of each spouse during the marriage
- The income of each spouse
- The age, health, and well-being of each spouse
Equitable Distribution in General
When a married couple acquires property, they essential share ownership rights to such property. Sharing ownership is not problematic for the couple when they live together. However, when a couple decides to get divorced and live separately and apart, it is not feasible for them to continue sharing their marital property as they did when they were married.
As a result, the couple must decide how to divide marital assets between themselves upon divorce. If the couple cannot agree on how to divide these assets, the court must equitably distribute their marital assets.
However, an “equitable” distribution of marital assets does not always mean that the court will “equally” divide marital assets between the parties. Instead, a court must consider the specifics of each case to determine a split that is fair and “equitable” under the circumstances.
Among the factors that courts will consider for purposes of equitable distribution include the marital debts that the marriage incurred.
Equitable Distributing Marital Debts
In general, courts consider both the property rights and financial obligations of the marriage when deciding issues of equitable distribution in divorce cases.
Generally, debts that the couple incurs during the marriage are characterized as marital debts that are subject to equitable division in a divorce. In contrast, liabilities that a party incurs before getting married are treated as their separate nonmarital debt and are not necessarily allocated between the parties.
Marital debts may apply to the total value of all marital property when determining an equitable distribution of assets and liabilities. Alternatively, New Jersey courts can allocate debts separately, resulting in a reduced property award.
What Happens to Your House?
If your matter proceeds to trial, the Court will order the house to be sold. Often, people wish to try and purchase their husband’s or wife’s equity in the home. This is often referred to as a “buyout.” However, if a house was purchased before the marriage or inherited, this may impact whether or not the home is subject to be divided.
Bankruptcy and Marital Debts
When a person files for bankruptcy, they may be entitled to have certain debts discharged, even if the party to whom the debt was owed hasn’t received a dime from the petitioner. Furthermore, filing for bankruptcy halts lawsuits for the collection of certain liabilities.
However, the federal bankruptcy code recognizes exceptions to bankruptcy relief in family cases, including:
- Paternity cases
- Spousal and child support matters
- Child custody and visitation actions
- Domestic violence proceedings
- Proceedings concerning the collection of spousal or child support
- Enforcement actions regarding the collection of spousal or child support
However, bankruptcy does apply to divorce proceedings concerning the equitable distribution of marital debts and liabilities. The exceptions to bankruptcy belief indicate federal public policy emphasizing the importance of domestic support obligations, as those matters involve a person’s legal duty to provide for the financial welfare of their children and spouses. As a result, bankruptcy will not relieve a person of such responsibilities.
Conversely, property division issues in a divorce proceeding are subject to bankruptcy relief. This is because marital debts typically involve repayment obligations that arise from contractual obligations rather than legal ones.
Work with a Team Focused on Family Law
The legal team at Lane & Lane, LLC exclusively practices divorce and family law. Between our 60 years of shared experience, we have handled all types of complex divorce issues. When dealing with high-value assets like real estate, cars, businesses, and jewelry, it is important that you have a lawyer with experience in finances looking out for you. Our team has extensive experience in high-net-worth divorce and divorce for business owners. Many unexpected issues are sure to come up in these types of cases. Our team knows how to anticipate problems and address them efficiently so that they do not drag the process out any longer than it needs to be.
“He was very effective in getting my case settled and supported me every step of the way.”- April M.
“This is a great starting point for anyone looking for legal counsel for a good value with exceptional results.”- Former Client
“I am thankful I chose Lane and Lane.”- Tom H.
Let us devote our time to your case that can range from divorce, child custody, equitable distribution, domestic violence and more. We are committed to find an end solution that you and your family can walk away from with peace of mind.