Hackensack, New Jersey, Division of Marital Assets Lawyers
The financial division of marital assets between spouses, is usually the most significant financial aspect of divorce. In general, in the State of New Jersey all assets and debts acquired from the date of the marriage to the date of the filing of the Complaint for Divorce are considered marital regardless of whether the asset or debt is in one spouse’s name or both spouses’ names. These marital assets and debts are subject to equitable distribution as determined by the parties in settlement or as ruled on by a Superior Court judge. There are two (2) main exceptions: gifts to one spouse from third parties and inheritances to one spouse from third parties. There are other nuances in the law that result in variations to these general concepts. We distill into a nonprofessional’s language for our clients all legal concepts, exceptions to those concepts, and procedural rules. Our clients are always grateful for the education we provide, as it helps reduce the fear and stress of a pending divorce.
At the law office of Cowen & Jacobs, we make sure that a client receives his or her fair share of all asset classes while we ensure that you are not responsible for non-marital debts. If necessary, we hire an actuary or forensic accountant to determine the value of a closely held business or to help identify and locate hidden assets.
We have experience in and the understanding of the tax issues that must be identified and addressed in the course of equitably dividing marital property. The tax consequences can be devastating and can undermine the fairness of the distribution.
What does an “Equitable Division of Property” Mean?
New Jersey is an “equitable division” state. This means that marriage is considered a joint enterprise comprised of the financial and non-financial contributions of both parties to the marriage. For example, even if one spouse stayed home for several years to raise the children and did not work outside of the home, she or he is entitled to a share of the working spouse’s earnings and assets derived from those earnings, including but not limited to a 401(k) account or pension.
What does the Court Consider when Dividing Marital Assets?
Each spouse’s equitable share is not necessarily 50% of the assets and debts acquired during the marriage. The court takes a number of factors into account when determining how to divide a couple’s marital assets, such as:
A. The duration of the marriage or civil union;
B. The age and physical and emotional health of the parties;
C. The income or property brought to the marriage or civil union by each party;
D. The standard of living established during the marriage or civil union;
E. Any written agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage or civil union concerning an arrangement of property distribution;
F. The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property becomes effective;
G. 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 or civil union;
H. The contribution by each party to the education, training or earning power of the other;
I. The contribution of each party to the acquisition, dissipation, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, or the property acquired during the civil union as well as the contribution of a party as a homemaker;
J. The tax consequences of the proposed distribution to each party;
K. The present value of the property;
L. The need of a parent who has physical custody of a child to own or occupy the marital residence or residence shared by the partners in a civil union couple and to use or own the household effects;
M. The debts and liabilities of the parties;
N. The need for creation, now or in the future, of a trust fund to secure reasonably foreseeable medical or educational costs for a spouse, partner in a civil union couple or children;
O. The extent to which a party deferred achieving their career goals; and
P. Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.
Need Additional Information? Contact Cowen & Jacobs
The division of marital assets can be complicated. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to assist and represent you in any court proceeding regarding a division of marital assets. Contact Cowen & Jacobs, your experienced and widely respected New Jersey divorce attorneys today.