Hackensack NJ Equitable Distribution Attorney
Divorce Lawyer in Bergen County, New Jersey
There are a number of key principles that guide the divorce process in New Jersey, one of which is equitable distribution of property. Although the name indicates otherwise, equitable distribution does not necessarily mean equal division. The word equitable belies the actual meaning of the term. For the purposes of NJ divorce, equitable means just or fair. Obviously, what is “fair” is a far more ambiguous and potentially contentious matter when it comes to dividing marital assets. Whether you have questions about how your property may be divided or you need help with asset division for your divorce, The Elfant Rickett Law Firm can help.
Rosa Elfant Rickett is a highly regarded New Jersey divorce attorney with an extensive background in property distribution divorce matters. Throughout her career, she has handled numerous cases of complex asset division, as well as forensic accounting in matrimonial disputes. With a practice dedicated entirely to divorce and family law, Rosa’s life and career reflects her commitment to helping her clients achieve the best possible outcomes. For instance, one former client described her experience with Rosa like this:
“Rosa was strongly recommended to me by someone who used her in the past. From the day I walked into her office, I felt she would be a wonderful attorney. When I first entered her office, I had just separated with my ex-husband. I was in shock, grieving and very confused as to what my legal rights were. When I walked out of her office that day, I felt confident that I had the right person on my side. She is incredibly caring, educated and will fight for the best settlement. She provided me with several options on how we could approach my divorce and let me make the final decision.” – Sharon
Check out our Client Reviews Page or Rosa’s individual profile on Avvo.com to read more reviews from clients who have relied on our firm. And please contact our offices in Hackensack at 201.968.5700 to schedule a consultation about your specific divorce case. We are happy to make sure all of your questions about equitable distribution of property are answered.
Equitable Distribution of Property in New Jersey Divorce
Simply put, equitable distribution is the mechanism for dividing property in New Jersey divorce. The rule of equitable distribution requires both spouses to receive a fair settlement when dividing their assets. In some states, property must be divided equally, meaning each spouse gets half of their shared total. In New Jersey, dividing property is different because it requires each party to get a fair share, but not an absolutely equal one.
Notably, New Jersey distinguishes between marital property and separate property. Thus, assets accumulated during the marriage are considered “marital,” while assets acquired before the marriage are considered “separate.” For instance, if a person purchases a car prior to the marriage, they are entitled to maintain this asset and it is not subject to equitable distribution. On the other hand, if the couple purchases a vacation home while married, they are both entitled to a share in the property’s value.
Separate Property: Not Subject to Equitable Distribution
The general rule for separate property in New Jersey divorce is: if you purchased it before you were married, it is yours to keep. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if your spouse contributed to renovations or improvements that increased the value of a real estate property, he or she may be entitled to a share of it. Any inheritance that either spouse receives, as well as life insurance benefits and gifts, are also considered separate property and thus, not subject to equitable distribution.
Marital Assets Subject to Equitable Property Division
There are many different types of marital property but some that come into play often during divorces in New Jersey. Examples of marital assets commonly divided under the rule of equitable distribution include:
- The marital home
- Other real estate properties and investments
- Vehicles, including cars and boats
- Collectible items
It is important to note that marital property also includes intangible assets such as:
- Bank accounts
- Retirement accounts and 401K’s
- Executive compensation packages
Spouses are also required to share in any debts accrued during the marriage, including liens, mortgages, loans, and credit card debts. Lastly, if you have a prenuptial agreement, this will also influence the equitable distribution determination in your divorce.
Consult a Franklin Lakes Equitable Property Division Lawyer Today
For additional information about equitable distribution of property in New Jersey, contact an experienced NJ divorce lawyer at The Elfant Rickett Law Firm anytime. You can reach out online or contact us via phone at our Hackensack office by calling 201.968.5700.