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Equitable Distribution of Assets in New Jersey Divorce

New Jersey divorce law mandates equitable distribution of marital property.  The factors for the court to consider are laid out in the statutes and interpreted in several key decisions of the New Jersey Appellate Division and Supreme Court.  If you are considering a divorce, you should consult an attorney who has experience in negotiating and litigating equitable distribution cases. 

Marital property in New Jersey is governed by the law of equitable distribution.  Section 2A:34-23.1 of the New Jersey Statutes defines that factors that a court should consider in making an equitable distribution of property.  Additionally, there is court precedent interpreting the statute.  Under New Jersey law, the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:

a. The duration of the marriage or civil union;

b. The age and physical and emotional health of the parties;

c. The income or property brought to the marriage or civil union by each party;

d. The standard of living established during the marriage or civil union;

e. Any written agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage or civil union concerning an arrangement of property distribution;

f. The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property becomes effective;

g. The income and earning capacity of each party, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children, and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage or civil union;

h. The contribution by each party to the education, training or earning power of the other;

i. The contribution of each party to the acquisition, dissipation, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, or the property acquired during the civil union as well as the contribution of a party as a homemaker;

j. The tax consequences of the proposed distribution to each party;

k. The present value of the property;

l. The need of a parent who has physical custody of a child to own or occupy the marital residence or residence shared by the partners in a civil union couple and to use or own the household effects;

m. The debts and liabilities of the parties;

n. The need for creation, now or in the future, of a trust fund to secure reasonably foreseeable medical or educational costs for a spouse, partner in a civil union couple or children;

o. The extent to which a party deferred achieving their career goals; and

p. Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.

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