How to handle New Jersey’s equitable division of marital assets

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | Divorce |

In addition to coping with the emotional turmoil associated with divorce, figuring out how to protect your financial well-being is key. If you enter your divorce without a solid plan in place, then you could end up losing out on the resources that you need and deserve. You certainly don’t want that to happen. After all, you only get one shot at the property division process.

To start building your property division strategy, it helps to understand how our state looks at division of marital assets. Let’s start there and then see what you can do to position yourself for a successful property division outcome.

New Jersey recognizes equitable division. This means that the marital estate is divided fairly. It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that marital assets will be divided evenly. Therefore, there’s often a lot of room for argument when it comes to dividing the marital estate.

How to address equitable division in your divorce

Given the breadth associated with the equitable division of marital assets, it can be hard to find a starting point for building your legal strategy. Here are some ideas that we hope will get you thinking about the best path forward for you:

  • Consider individually owned property: Individually owned property won’t be subjected to the property division process in your divorce. Of course, it’s difficult to parse out what’s individually owned and what’s become part of the marital estate. After all, a lot of individually owned assets end up commingled with marital assets, which usually makes them part of the marital estate. This includes inheritances. So, make sure you’re analyzing all assets that you and your spouse own so that you can property include and exclude property to your benefit.
  • Think about each spouse’s circumstances: Since the division of marital assets is supposed to be fair, the court is going to consider each spouse’s economic circumstances. So, be prepared to paint a picture of what your and your spouse’s financial positioning will look like post-divorce so that you can articulate a fair resolution, whether that be at the negotiating table or in court.
  • Look for hidden assets: All too often, spouses try to hide assets from one another. The hope is that they can steal away marital assets for their own personal use post-divorce. This can leave you cheated and without the resources to which you’re entitled. Before finalizing your divorce, then, you should conduct a thorough analysis to see if your spouse is trying to keep assets from you.
  • Ensure proper valuation: Do you know how much all of your marital assets are worth? Probably not. That’s why it’s important to have key assets valuated before sitting down for negotiations or litigating your case. These assets include your marital home, a family business, artwork, and heirloom jewelry.

Know how to advocate for a fair outcome in your divorce

You have to be proactive if you hope to achieve a fair outcome in your divorce. Otherwise, your spouse might run you over, taking more than what they should.

To protect your interests as fully as possible, start developing an understanding of how the equitable distribution law will impact your marriage dissolution. Once you have a firm grasp on that, you should be able to start developing the legal strategy that positions you for a favorable outcome. Just be sure to be diligent, comprehensive, and as aggressive as you need to be to recover what you’re owed.