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What factors influence equitable property division?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | DIVORCE - Divorce |

Some divorcing couples find it relatively easy to divide their property. They may have already negotiated a contract with each other or may have discussed at length what they expect to receive should they eventually divorce. They don’t have any major disagreements about dividing their assets and debts.

Other couples find themselves fighting over everything from home equity to family vehicles. It can be very difficult for people to amicably decide how they should share their marital debts and assets with each other when they divorce.

If spouses can’t resolve matters on their own, then a New Jersey family law judge can look at an inventory of their assets and debts to decide the best way to divide them. What factors may influence how a judge equitably distributes marital property?

The law requires a thorough review

New Jersey has an equitable distribution statute for marital property. A judge trying to determine what is fair when dividing people’s property has to take many factors into consideration. The law requires that they specifically consider certain key details.

Obviously, the overall extent of the marital estate and the current standard of living for the family are important. Judges also look at the contributions each spouse has made to the family, including both economic contributions and unpaid contributions.

Beyond that, judges can consider the separate property that each spouse has, their current income and their earning potential. Any career sacrifices they may have made for the family could also influence the division of marital property. The length of the marriage and the health of the spouses can also influence what a judge determines is fair.

Custody arrangements for any shared children can also play a role in property division matters. At a judge’s discretion, they also have the ability to consider other factors that they deem relevant. Given the broad range of influences that can affect how a judge divides property, it is effectively impossible to predict the exact distribution of assets in a New Jersey divorce.

Spouses who worry about preserving certain assets or achieving certain goals may need to consider amicable means of settling property division matters to protect themselves from the uncertainty of litigation. Learning about how judges make decisions about dividing property can be beneficial for those contemplating divorce and worried about the protection of their resources.