New Jersey Property Division Factors
In New Jersey, the property and debt issues are typically settled between the parties by a signed Marital Settlement Agreement or the property award is actually order and decreed by the Superior Court within the Judgment of Divorce.
New Jersey is referred to as an "equitable distribution" state. When the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the Superior Court will take the following approach to dividing the assets; First, it will go through a discovery process to classify which property and debt is to be considered marital. Next, it will assign a monetary value on the marital property and debt. Last, it will distribute the marital assets between the two parties in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is deemed by the Superior Court to be fair.
The court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors: 1.The duration of the marriage; 2.The age and physical and emotional health of the parties; 3.The income or property brought to the marriage by each party; 4.The standard of living established during the marriage; 5.Any written agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage concerning an arrangement of property distribution; 6.The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property becomes effective; 7.The income and earning capacity of each party, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children, and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage; 8. The contribution by each party to the education, training or earning power of the other; 9. The contribution of each party to the acquisition, dissipation, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, as well as the contribution of a party as a homemaker; 10. The tax consequences of the proposed distribution to each party; 11. The present value of the property; 12. The need of a parent who has physical custody of a child to own or occupy the marital residence and to use or own the household effects; 13. The debts and liabilities of the parties; 14. The need for creation, now or in the future, of a trust fund to secure reasonably foreseeable medical or educational costs for a spouse or children; 15. The extent to which a party deferred achieving their career goals; and 16. Any other factors which the court may deem relevant. (New Jersey Statutes - Title 2 A - Chapters: 34-23)
Since New Jersey is an "Equitable Distribution" state, all marital property will be divided in an equitable fashion according to the court unless agreed to otherwise by the divorcing spouses. What does "equitable" mean? Equitable can be defined as "what is fair, not necessarily equal." To automatically believe the marital property would be divided 50-50 would be a wrong assumption in any equitable distribution state. You can also read more about New Jersey property division in the New Jersey state statutes located at: https://codes.findlaw.com/.
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