Ensuring Equitable Distribution of Assets in Wayne/Totowa, NJ
Like a business partnership, a married couple works together to make joint financial investments with a goal of growing the wealth of their relationship. When the partnership needs to be dissolved, the assets and liabilities must also be allocated in a division of property called equitable distribution, which is similar to the division of property in a business partnership. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning the way marital assets are divided is more complex than splitting everything evenly in half.
Determining Equitable Distribution
The parties in a marriage each bring unique attributes and assets to the union, contributing value through a family-owned business, raising children, advancing a career, making financial investments, or even inheriting or receiving financial assets. In a dissolution, each party is entitled to his or her fair portion of the total marriage estate, including real estate, retirement assets, businesses, stocks, pensions, and bank accounts. To establish which assets form a part of the total estate and what share each party is entitled to, a legal evaluation and analysis of all assets will form the basis of the final distribution decision.
What’s Taken into Account in Equitable Distribution?
If you and the other party to a divorce cannot come to an agreement about the fair distribution of assets as part of your divorce, you’ll need to appear in front of a family court official who will review and value each asset to determine the total value of the estate. As a general rule, everything you and your spouse jointly acquired during the marriage is subject to an arrangement of equitable distribution.
Next, the Court considers how to distribute various parts of the estate, including the duration of the marriage, the age and health of the parties involved, the standard of living in the marriage, any property brought to the marriage by either party, the economic circumstances of both parties, the earning potential of both parties, any written agreements previously established regarding the separation of assets, and other factors.
Outcomes of Equitable Distribution
In a state without equitable distribution, dividing assets and debts would be simpler: The Court would gather the total value of the marital estate and divide it down the middle as evenly as possible. In equitable distribution, this outcome is possible, but other factors are considered. For example, if one party owns a home outside of the estate and the other does not, then the Court may decide to grant the marital home to the party in need of a place to live, or at least to ensure the party without a home is granted the means to purchase or rent one in the asset distribution process.
This is where an experienced attorney is needed to protect your interests and basic needs. Maria A. Giammona Law, LLC is a qualified, skilled divorce attorney with the right experience valuing and distributing assets.