dividing assets debts

Getting a divorce in New Jersey can be stressful. But figuring out which assets each of you keeps can be one of the hardest parts of the process. That’s why the court can step in if needed. As part of the divorce proceedings, the court can review your combined assets and determine a fair division of those assets between you and your spouse. However, there’s more to the process than meets the eye and your New Jersey divorce lawyer wants you to be as prepared as possible. Here’s what you need to know about dividing assets and debts in New Jersey.

New Jersey Is an Equitable Distribution State

Some states follow a 50/50 distribution rule. Under this rule, assets and debt is divided equally between both spouses. New Jersey, on the other hand, is an equitable distribution state. This means marital assets and joint debts are divided in a way that the court deems fair to both parties. 

In some instances, that division may end up being a 50/50 split. In other instances, it may result in one spouse receiving more of the assets while the other assumes more of the debt. The court will take care to consider how the distribution of both assets and debts will impact both spouses as they make their decision. 

The Factors Courts Use to Determine Division of Assets

Since New Jersey doesn’t follow the 50/50 rule, the court must look at different factors to determine who should receive what and in what amounts. Some of the factors that the court will consider include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The income each spouse earns
  • The age of each spouse
  • The health of each spouse
  • The amount of individual property and individual debt each spouse has

This list is by no means exhaustive. Your New Jersey divorce lawyer will be able to explain which factors may impact the division of your assets based on your unique situation.

You Can Always Come up With Your Own Agreement

Though many couples decide to let the court divide their assets and debts, you don’t have to. You and your spouse are free to reach an agreement before going to court to finalize your divorce. The terms of these agreements are entirely up to you. If you and your spouse feel that a 50/50 division is appropriate, you can request it. But if you both agree on other terms or one of you feels comfortable giving most of the property to the other, you’re free to request that, too.

The challenge to these agreements is communicating with your spouse in a calm and respectful way. If the two of you are on the same page and want to resolve things out of the courtroom, your divorce attorneys can help facilitate a negotiation. But if you aren’t confident in your ability to negotiate and communicate with your spouse, letting the court handle the division may be a better choice.

What to Do While Waiting for the Court to Decide

Divorce proceedings can take at least several months to navigate. While you’re waiting for the court to decide, there are a few things you can do to ensure that the process goes smoothly. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Compile all of your financial documents and records to provide the court with the information they need to divide your assets and debts fairly.
  • Avoid taking on new debt if possible.
  • Consult with a divorce lawyer about how to handle joint bank accounts.
  • Consider negotiating with your spouse if possible.

Remember to be honest when discussing your finances with your attorney. This will help them represent your case to the best of their ability.

Work With an Experienced New Jersey Divorce Lawyer

Whether you want to reach an agreement with your spouse or want to let the courts handle the division of your assets and liabilities, working with an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer is always a good idea. At Carvajal Law, we strive to make your divorce as easy as possible. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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