New Jersey Divorce Attorney Examines Equitable Distribution
Clients often come to me as a New Jersey Divorce Attorney and ask what equitable distribution means. Equitable distribution determines how the assets and debts of the marriage will be divided. Marital property, as we know, is anything acquired during the marriage, which is defined as the date you were married to the date the complaint for divorce is filed. Equitable distribution in the state of New Jersey contemplates a series of 16 separate factors in determining who gets what. What did you contribute to a particular item? What are the parties’ ages? What about the health of each party? What is the value of the item? Where did it come from? What’s the backstory?
For example, if Aunt Mary’s necklace has been in your family for three generations, and it was gifted to you, it’s staying with you. If you bought a tennis bracelet or a watch for your spouse, those interspousal gifts will be viewed as marital property, which is subject to division. That means if the watch has a value of $10 when you’re getting divorced, and you keep it, you owe the other spouse $5. That’s the way it works. Anything acquired during the marriage will be subject to equitable distribution. If there’s a battle, the court will look at 16 separate factors and decide who gets what.
In your preparation, it’s very important that you decide what you want to fight for. What’s important to you? Oftentimes, items related to hobbies, athletics, and other things people are doing for enjoyment go with that individual. For example, if you’re a professional golfer – or a weekend or competitive golfer – you have golf gear. If you’re a mountain climber, a hiker, or a biker, you’ll have your own gear that’s probably expensive. You may have to give it a value if you keep the actual item, but you should immediately identify what you want to do battle over.
Ultimately, if both sides are determined to keep the same item, the judge will probably just order the item sold. If both spouses are saying, “I want it. I have a right to it. I want it. I have a right to it,” the judge will probably just sell it. That’s the easy way out. All you have to do is work with your spouse to decide who’s going to get specific things, and identify the values for those items. That’s the whole process of equitable distribution.
Are you trying to determine how your marital property will be divided in a divorce? Contact dedicated New Jersey Divorce Attorney Christopher Leon Garibian for guidance on asset division.
Christopher Leon Garibian, Esq. is a partner in the matrimonial and family law department of Weiner Law Group LLP. He has over 19 years of experience handling a multitude of Divorce and Family Law Matters throughout New Jersey. He is passionate about family law and takes pride in his ability to effectuate real change in the lives of his clients. He is certified by the State Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Attorney. If you are in need of an experienced Divorce Attorney or Family Law Attorney in NJ, contact us today for compassionate, long lasting legal solutions.