Most divorcing couples are aware that they will have to divide their marital assets. However, many are unfamiliar with the concept of equitable distribution. In the U.S., each state has the legal authority to determine how assets will be divided during divorce. Some states have "community property" laws, which dictate that all co-owned assets are to be divided equally. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, making the division of assets process potentially much more complicated. Today, our equitable division of marital property attorneys will define equitable distribution, discuss some key factors which determine equitable distribution, and touch on how these concepts may impact our clients' divorce cases. Morris County, NJ Marital Division of Assets Attorneys Define Equitable Distribution As mentioned above, equitable distribution allows for fair distribution of assets, but it also can lead to long drawn out legal battles. Before understanding where you stand from a legal standpoint, your Morris County marital division of assets attorney will likely want you to understand how equitable distribution works in New Jersey. There are a handful of steps which can be involved in the process, including: Determining marital property vs. separately held property: in order for an asset or property to be eligible for division, it must be considered "marital property". In the majority of cases, this will include any assets acquired during the marriage. However, there are exceptions in both directions. It is important to speak with a qualified attorney about your unique case regarding what that to which you are entitled. Value all marital property - it is essential that your marital property is accurately appraised within the equitable distribution process. In this way, both parties will understand how much each asset is worth so a fair negotiation can take place. Determine an equitable division of marital property - here is where equitable distribution really comes into play. Rather than dividing marital property 50/50, each asset will be distributed based on the amount of money, time, and effort each spouse put in. There are a laundry list of other factors, which we will describe below. Harding Equitable Distribution Lawyers Identify Factors of Equitable Division So your marital property has been identified and valuated. Now what? How are you to equitably divide the property? Your Harding equitable distribution lawyers understand that no two cases are alike, and each will be determined based on the unique circumstances. Factors which commonly play a role in determining equitable distribution of marital assets may include: Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements if any exist Duration of the marriage Grounds for marriage (whether the divorce was filed as fault or no fault) Earning capacity of each spouse moving forward Net worth, owned property, and overall financial situation of each spouse Contributions made by both spouses to the financial betterment of the couple during the marriage Debts or liabilities held by either spouse Much more It is important to understand that marital property does not have to be divided, but may be used as equity against other division. For example, a husband may keep the family home despite it being marital property. The wife may then keep other equally valuable assets such as investment accounts, other real estate, business assets, and so forth. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. A qualified equitable distribution lawyer will help you find the solution which best fits your family's needs. Contact our Morristown Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets Attorneys Today The equitable distribution of marital assets attorneys of Laufer, Dalena, Cadicina, Jensen & Bradley are part of one of the most well established family law practices in Northern New Jersey. We take pride in protecting the legal rights of Morris County clients from towns including Morristown, Chester, Harding, Chatham, Morris Plains, Mendham, and Morris Township. Our firm believes in offering top quality legal solutions while developing strong attorney-client relationships. Year after year, our attorneys are nominated to the Super Lawyers list as it relates to family law. To learn more about equitable distribution laws and how they might impact your divorce proceedings, please contact us online or through out Morristown, NJ office by calling 973-975-4043 today for a free and confidential consultation.