New Jersey Divorce & Finances

The division of joint finances during a divorce is stressful, unpleasant, and potentially confusing. You might understandably have a number of questions, particularly regarding New Jersey law. For instance, how will your property be divided? What are the tax implications of divorce? Are there estate planningissues to be reconciled? Furthermore, will there be spousal support payments, and if so, who will owe, and what are the terms of these payments? The following topics address New Jersey laws specific to divorce and finances.

New Jersey Property Division/Debts:

New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that marital property will be distributed on terms considered by the court to be “fair.” But “fair” does notalways mean equal. In fact, it is more likely that the distribution will not be 50/50. What does the court look to in determining the equitable distribution? Factors include, among other things, the contributions of each spouse to the marital estate, the total value of the properties of the parties, the economic circumstances of each party, any misconduct that may have occurred, and the amount of spousal support awarded.

New Jersey Alimony/Spousal Support:

In the event of a divorce in New Jersey, there is no automatic obligation for either spouse to support the other. However, the court may grant spousal support (also called maintenance or alimony) where it deems such support appropriate. This decision is always made on a case-by-case basis, and the court will consider a wide range of factors, including:

  1. The financial resources of the party seeking support;
  2. The time and input of resources necessary for the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and sufficient education and/or training for that employment;
  3. The established subjective standard of living during the marriage;
  4. Marriage duration;
  5. Physical and emotional condition of the party seeking maintenance;
  6. The ability of the proposed supporting spouse to meet his/her own needs while meeting those of the other spouse; and
  7. Any other factors the court deems relevant.

Note that the spousal award amount and duration, once determined, are not permanently fixed. The court may modify or eliminate the award when circumstances justify doing so, such as the receiving party entering into another marriage or similar arrangement or a material change in the financial circumstances of a party.

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