If you're going through a divorce in New Jersey, you need to have a clear understanding of the process and your legal rights. When it comes to the division of property, there are things you should know and steps you can take to ensure an equitable distribution of marital property.
New Jersey is an “equitable distribution state,” meaning that marital property is not necessarily split 50-50. While things may work out close to this, equitable distribution is defined as division of assets in a manner that is fair, but not always equal.
It's critical to take action to protect your legal rights, as reaching a fair division of property will affect your financial stability now and in the future.
One of the best ways to reach a fair division of property is to create a checklist. Write out all your assets and group them by categories, such as:
- Real estate: In addition to your family home, include any vacation property, rental property and commercial property that you own.
- Personal property: Common assets to add to this category include collectibles, motor vehicles, guns, electronics, clothing, furniture and antiques. It's primarily property that you keep in your home.
- Financial assets: Retirement savings, military retirement payments, pensions, bank accounts, educational accounts, stocks and bonds, certificates of deposit and cash.
- Business assets: If one or both of you own a business, these assets should find their way onto your checklist. They often include business bank accounts, commercial real estate and business capital.
Along with a comprehensive list of all your assets, make note of which ones are joint and separate. If you own separate assets, include them on your checklist but realize that you can fight to not include them in division process.
Through mediation, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will negotiate to reach a fair and equitable distribution of assets. This will take some level of compromise by both parties, so go into the process with the idea that you're not going to get everything.
Your primary concern should be a fair and equitable distribution as defined by the law. With this approach, you're in better position to make your way through this part of the divorce process with as little stress as possible.