Arons & Solomon | September 21, 2015 | Articles
What constitutes an equitable divorce in the state of NJ?
“For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part’. Everyone knows these words as the typical marriage vows. When stating these vows, the majority of couples will look at this as their two lives becoming one in every single aspect, including monetarily. Assets, debts, good decisions, bad decisions, typically all will go into one ‘marital pot’. That marital pot will continue to grow throughout the marriage and become the financial basis of the marriage. When the marriage goes array and all of the sudden those joint assets must be divided, things can quite obviously become messy. For all divorce cases, the State of New Jersey will look to the mandates of equitable distribution.
Many of the words that are associated with the legal field can be potentially misleading. The term ‘equitable distribution’ is no different. New Jersey is considered an equitable distribution state. Many people will see the beginning of the word ‘equal’ and, in turn, assume that the term ‘equitable distribution’ in a divorce means that all assets are split between the two parties ‘equally’. If you, like many others, assumed this thought, you would be very wrong. While the court will try to make the division of marital assets as equal as possible, equitable distribution maintains that assets are split as fairly as possible, not necessarily as equally as possible.
There are many things that are taken into consideration when a court is making a determination regarding the division of assets for a divorce. The first potentially major aspect that a court will look at will be an event that took place before any “I Do’s” were exchanged. A prenuptial or post-marriage agreement could potentially end any negotiations regarding the division of assets. If both parties agreed to a prenuptial or post-marriage agreement, then the division of most (if not all) of the marital assets will be outlined in that document. Unless a reason can be found why that document should not be honored, the court will follow those guidelines.
In the alternative, if there is no agreement either before or after marriage, income and the length of the marriage will become major factors when a court is making a decision regarding the division of assets. Essentially, how much support was being provided to the other spouse at any given time? Was only one spouse working during the course of the marriage? Was one spouse in school and unable to work? Did one spouse stay home with the children? Did another circumstance come up which prevented one spouse from being able to work? All of these factors are things that a Judge will look at any make a determination on when it comes to the best way to divide any marital assets.
The law firms of Arons & Solomon, P.A. is well versed and experienced in this potentially complicated aspect of any divorce. Arons & Solomon understands that every single marriage and divorce is different and that there could be a multitude of factors that could affect an equitable distribution decision. We are here to work with you to get the best outcome possible to be able to move on after this very difficult time in your life.