Like every couple that files for divorce, no one divorce looks the same. Thorny issues like child custody, prenuptial agreements, guardianship, and more of the little details that need to be discussed at the end of a marriage can stress you out. One area that requires an experienced divorce attorney in your corner to ensure you get what you deserve is the equitable distribution of your marital assets.
However, before you can get your equitable distribution, you have to understand what it is and what it entails. It’s a concept that seems straightforward but has nuances that go beyond splitting everything down the middle.
Does Equitable Mean Equal?
When a couple starts thinking about marital separation or divorce for the first time, they have a set idea in mind of what splitting the assets up would look like. They may believe that they are entitled to exactly half of your shared marital assets upon divorce. However, in the case of equitable distribution, equitable does not always mean equal.
Equitable distributions aim to break down the listed marital assets of the couple in as fair and measured a way as possible. The breakdown during the divorce proceedings may end up being an equal division of assets, or it could favor one party over the other for various reasons.
What Factors Influence Equitable Distribution?
During the divorce case, certain factors must be considered for the distribution of assets to be truly equitable. Some of these critical factors considered in the courts of New Jersey include:
- Duration of the Marriage
- Incomes of Both Parties
- Their Ages
- Expected Standard of Living
- Economic Circumstances
What Are Considered Marital Assets?
With every dissolving marriage, marital assets can look different from couple to couple, although there are some common threads. Marital assets include all of the property the couple brought while together, joint bank accounts, retirement savings, pensions, and more. Figuring out how these assets are separated during the legal process can cause heated disputes in court as couples try to either “get the upper hand” or simply cause as much emotional damage as possible.
Do Premarital Assets Fall Under Equitable Distribution?
Any assets, savings, or debts that have accrued before the beginning of the marriage don’t fall under the purview of equitable distribution — as long as they haven’t fallen into a joint account. Premarital assets remain under the name and control of the party that earned them prior to the marriage.
Marital Property Vs. Separate Property
In addition to premarital assets, not all property acquired during your marriage qualifies for equitable distribution. The two divisions of property are marital property and separate property. Marital property consists of property you brought during the marriage in both of your names.
Separate property consists of any property you have before the marriage or property you acquired during the marriage through an inheritance or as a gift. For equal distribution, only marital property is under consideration.
How Keith Family Law Can Help
As one of New Jersey’s top family law firms, our experienced divorce attorneys can help you navigate the complex divorce process. Keith Family Law’s attorneys have extensive experience working with couples to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of assets that makes sense for both parties. We work with you to ensure that your voice is heard and you aren’t taken advantage of in the distribution of assets.
Contact our team to schedule your first consultation today!