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How division of property is handled in divorces

New Jersey couples who are considering getting a divorce might be interested to hear that many people have misconceptions about how property is divided in a divorce. Some people may think that they are not entitled to certain assets simply because those assets are only in their spouses' names and not in their's. However, that is not necessarily case.

Even people who are not involved in a complex divorce have to deal with dividing their assets. Assets are either categorized as separate ones or marital ones in a divorce. Separate assets are ones that spouses had before they were married to one another. Inheritances, gifts and personal injury payments for pain and suffering are also categorized as separate assets. Marital assets, however, are all the other assets that a couple received during their marriage even if those assets are only titled in one spouse's name. For example, vehicles, boats, country club memberships, real estate, limited partnerships, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, stock options and many other assets are all categorized as marital assets.

New Jersey is an equitable distribution state so people getting a divorce in New Jersey do not necessarily have to split their marital assets 50/50. In equitable distribution states, assets are divided based upon a variety of factors. Some of those factors include which spouse retains custody of any children, how long the marriage lasted, how much each spouse contributed to the marriage, the earning potential of each spouse and so on. Additionally, whether or not the couple entered into a prenuptial agreement prior to the marriage affects how assets will be divided as well.

Couples who want help categorizing their assets might benefit from the counsel of family law attorneys. Family law attorneys might be able to help them come to mutual divorce settlements without contention.

Source: Huff Post Divorce, "Understanding How Assets Get Divided In Divorce", Jeff Landers, June 14, 2013

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