When a couple goes through a divorce, it can often be a very exhausting and difficult process. There are several legal matters that must be addressed before it is considered official. One of the most important, and sometimes trying, parts of a divorce is the division of the couple’s assets between the two of them. Sometimes, spouses are able to agree on the terms of their divorce on their own without having to go to trial. Other times, spouses may disagree and argue about which assets belong to whom. In cases such as these, the couple may need to go to court in order to settle their disagreements. An experienced attorney can guide you through your divorce proceedings.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
When a couple goes to court in order to divide their assets, a judge will determine the arrangements for them. This allows the judge to make all decisions regarding the division of the couple’s assets between them. To do so, the judge must determine which of their assets are considered marital property and which are separate property. The differences between the two are as follows:
- Marital Property: Any assets and debts acquired during the marriage. This may also include any properties acquired before the marriage that were then converted into marital property when the marriage began.
- Separate Property: Any assets and debts that were acquired before the marriage and agreed to stay as separate property during the marriage. This may include other properties, gifts, and inheritance.
Many people have the misconception that property is divided 50/50 during a divorce. This is rarely the case, as New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that a judge divides the assets fairly between both spouses. In order to do this, a judge bases their decision on several different factors in 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, judges do not consider marital fault while dividing assets between spouses. Instead, they may look into if there is an economic fault. If a spouse handles their assets irresponsible, the judge may sway in the favor of the other spouse.
Many couples often wish to work out the terms of their divorce outside a courtroom. Instead of a trial, there are several other options for couples to consider, one of which is mediation. Meditation allows spouses to negotiate their marital issues and come to an agreement with the help of an unbiased third party. The third party listens to the sides of both spouses and helps them work out a situation that is best for them. This gives couples the opportunity to work on their separation 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 Haber Silver Russoniello & Dunn today.
If you require strong legal representation for matters related to divorce or family law, Haber Silver Russoniello & Dunn is here to help. We proudly represent clients in Morris County and throughout the state of New Jersey. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.