Going through a divorce can be a long and difficult process. It requires spouses to address several legal matters before the marriage is legally over. A very important part of a divorce is the division of a couple’s assets between the two of them. Sometimes, spouses are able to reach a decision about splitting their assets outside of court. Other times, spouses may disagree and need the help of a judge to resolve their differences. An experienced attorney in Monmouth County can guide you through your divorce proceedings.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
When a couple goes to court for assistance in dividing their assets, a judge will determine the arrangements for them. This gives the judge the right to make all decisions on how the assets are split between the two spouses. When a judge comes to this decision, they must determine which assets are marital property and which are separate property. The differences between the two are:
- Marital Property: Any assets and debts acquired during the marriage. This may include any properties from before the marriage that was converted into marital property when the marriage started.
- Separate Property: Any assets and debts that were acquired before the marriage and was agreed to keep as separate property during the marriage. This may include properties, gifts, or inheritance.
Many people believe that when a couple divorces, their property is split 50/50 between the two of them. However, this is not always the case. New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that a judge will divide a couple’s assets fairly between them, not equally. In order to determine what is fair, the judge considers several different factors of the marriage. This may include:
- The age and health of each spouse
- The duration of the marriage
- Economic circumstances
- Each spouse’s contribution to marital property
- Any tax consequence that may apply
Typically, when couples are looking to divide their assets, a judge does not consider marital fault. This means they will not split a couple’s assets differently if one spouse is responsible for the end of the marriage. However, they may take into consideration if there is an economic fault in the marriage. If a spouse is irresponsible in handling their assets, a judge may lean in the favor of the more responsible spouse.
While it is not always possible for all couples, some spouses wish to work through their marital issues outside of court. One method of divorce outside of a courtroom is mediation. Mediation allows spouses to negotiate their issues with the help of an unbiased third party. The third party listens to both spouses’ sides and works to help them reach an agreement regarding the division of their assets, amongst other marital issues. This gives couples the chance to separate their lives without the help of the court.
Contact our Firm
If you are going through a divorce and wish to speak with an attorney about your division of assets, contact the Law Offices of George J. Mardinly today.
Our firm proudly represents clients in New Jersey who are faced with matters of family law, criminal defense, business law, real estate law, or estate planning. If you require strong and dedicated representation for any of your legal matters, contact The Law Offices of George J. Mardinly to schedule a consultation.