Property division is an important part of the divorce process for divorcing couples. It is helpful for divorcing couples to know how property division is determined so they can anticipate a property division settlement agreement and prioritize and protect their interests throughout.
New Jersey follows equitable property division rules which means that property will be divided as equitable, or fairly, as possible. The family law court evaluates a variety of factors to determine an equitable division of property including:
- The duration of the marriage;
- The standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marriage;
- The age and physical and emotional health of each of the spouses;
- The income of each of the spouses;
- The debts or liabilities of the spouses;
- The economic circumstances of each of the spouses;
- The earning capacity of each of the spouses;
- The contributions of each of the spouses to the couple’s marital property, including contributions of a homemaking spouse; and
- Any property agreements between the couple or any other relevant factor.
The family law court will evaluate each piece of property, the value of the property and the equitable distribution of the property. In general, only marital property, and income, acquired during the marriage is subject to the property division process. Marital property can include a family home, cars, home furnishings, art, real estate and other types of property as well.
Separate property, which can include property one of the spouses entered the marriage with such as gifts, inheritances and personal injury awards, is generally not subject to the property division process. As a result, understanding how property is categorized and divided becomes more important than ever for divorcing couples to be familiar with.