East Brunswick, New Jersey

What if couples don’t agree about property division during divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2024 | Uncategorized

Divorcing couples in New Jersey often find themselves at odds about much of the process. It is common for divorcing couples to disagree about how they should separate their lives. Some couples have to discuss financial support matters and child custody. Almost all couples have to handle property division issues.

Sometimes, spouses are able to reach an amicable decision about the division of their property. They may have a prenuptial agreement or very different priorities when it comes to which assets they retain. Other times, spouses may fight intensely about property division matters. Higher-value assets, including businesses, real estate and retirement accounts are often sources of conflict.

What happens if spouses don’t reach an agreement on how they split up their marital property when they divorce?

New Jersey judges can make those decisions

Judges in New Jersey have the authority to decide what happens with marital property in a divorce. They apply the equitable distribution standard enshrined in New Jersey state statutes to the marital estate.

Equitable distribution means the fair division of property and debts. Judges generally have to consider numerous specific details about a marriage to divide marital property in a fair way. New Jersey’s law includes earning potential, marriage duration, individual health and a host of other factors in the list of what a judge must consider when dividing marital property.

Judges have the authority to award people assets and to make them responsible for debts. They can even sometimes order people to sell certain assets if there isn’t a fair and reasonable way to directly divide them. How a judge views marital circumstances can be drastically different from how either spouse views the situation.

Even when working with an attorney, it can be difficult to predict exactly how a judge may divide marital property. Those who expect to rely on a judge to make key property division determinations may benefit from being very thorough when creating an inventory of marital resources and debt. They may also need assistance when reviewing disclosures made by a spouse.

Understanding the rules that apply in property division disputes can benefit those worried about the future during a divorce. New Jersey’s equitable distribution statute typically helps ensure that neither spouse ends up in an unfair position post-divorce.