What Does Equitable Distribution Mean?
There’s a lot to take into account when you go through a divorce in New Jersey. Not only do you have to figure out what to do with your children and consider spousal support, but there’s also how to divide your assets and debts. Who is responsible for these financial matters?
New Jersey is an Equitable Distribution State
It’s important to know that New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. This means that the property from the marriage will be divided between the spouses in a fair matter. If the spouses cannot come to an agreement on equitable distribution, it will be up to the court to decide how much each spouse will receive. The court will use a set of factors that are designed to show how much each spouse contributed to the marriage. These factors include:
- How long the marriage lasted
- The age and health of the spouses
- The property that each spouse had brought into the marriage (this includes income)
- The marital standard of living and the spouses’ economic circumstances when the property is divided
- Any property settlement agreements
- Each spouse’s income or earning capacity
- The spouses’ debts and liabilities
And many other factors.
It’s important to note that fault of the marriage’s end does not play a factor in how the property is divided. For instance, if you are divorcing your wife on grounds of adultery, this does not mean she’s going to acquire all the debt. Equitable distribution is determined more on your economic circumstances than who did what in the marriage.
Equitable Distribution is Not Equal
This does not mean the property will be equally divided, however. For example, let’s say you and your husband are going through a divorce. Your husband brought more debt into the marriage than you did, yet makes much more money. He demands that you take and equal share of the debt but you refuse. The issue now has to be settled by the court. Since your husband makes much more money and created more debt, the judge may give him more of the debt than you.
It can be hard to figure out how the property is divided after the marriage ends. This is just one of the reasons why you should not handle your divorce on your own. Instead, you should hire an experienced divorce attorney who knows the process well. If you are going through a divorce in New Jersey, contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.