Equitable distribution entails dividing up all assets and debts owned by a divorcing couple. The process is notoriously complicated and contentious; however, our experienced Somerset divorce lawyers will guide you through it with minimal stress while we diligently protect your interests and financial stability. In New Jersey, equitable distribution is determined by a fair division of property. This does not mean an equal division of property. We will work closely with you to devise an agreeable solution to the division of property in your case.
The first step in the process of equitable distribution is to determine which assets constitute marital property and which are considered separate property.
Separate property is that which belongs specifically to one spouse. This can refer to property acquired before a marriage, inheritances or gifts given to an individual spouse during the marriage, material goods obtained after filing for divorce or property specifically protected by a prenuptial agreement. Separate property is usually excluded from equitable distribution; therefore, deciding which assets are separate can be pivotal when dividing up the marital estate.
Marital property, both material and financial, refers to assets that are acquired during a marriage. Marital property may include a couple’s house, the start-up or acquisition of a business, investments, savings, retirement accounts, collectible items, vehicles and furniture. Ownership does not exclude marital property from equitable distribution. If a mortgage is in only one spouse’s name or a vehicle was titled to one spouse, it will still be considered marital property if it was purchased while a couple was married.
In addition to the division of assets, any marital debt must also be fairly divided. This includes all credit cards, mortgages, car loans and personal or homeowner loans that are incurred while a couple is married.
Our Somerset divorce lawyers are highly skilled negotiators who strive to amicably and favorably settle the division of our clients’ debt, property and assets. If an adequate agreement cannot be reached, a mediator may be able to facilitate a settlement.
In some cases it may be necessary to have a judge or arbitrator decide the equitable distribution of assets. Judges in New Jersey consider specific criteria when determining fair distribution of marital property and debt. Determining factors include the length of a marriage, spousal age, health and income; the standard of living a couple enjoyed during the marriage; custodial responsibilities of each spouse if children are involved; each spouse’s contribution to the earning potential of the other; any stipulations present in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement; and any additional factors that the court deems relevant.
If you are considering divorce or are in the process of a divorce, the experienced and knowledgeable Somerset divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Kisha M. Hebbon can ensure that your divorce settlement is fair and your rights are protected. Call us at 732-873-6464 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Somerset, New Jersey and we serve clients in Somerset, Middlesex and Union.
We represent clients throughout New Jersey including Somerset County, Middlesex County, Union County and including but not limited to the towns of Somerset, Franklin, Bridgewater, New Brunswick, East Brunswick, Plainfield, Edison, Metuchen, Woodbridge, Piscataway, Old Bridge, Rahway, Linden, Elizabeth, Cranford, Summit, Union, Clark, Elizabeth, Berkeley Heights, and Scotch Plains.