Getting an idea about how a New Jersey judge will divide your property during a divorce can help you prepare. Setting realistic expectations about what you may or may not come out with can reduce the stress and emotional upheaval of such a distressful time.
Under state law, property divides in an equitable, not equal way. Learn about what this means and how it may impact your process.
What does equitable division mean?
You and your spouse have to provide the court with an accurate accounting of your current assets and debts as part of your divorce proceeding. Some states divide these things equally; however, New Jersey does not necessarily. Equitable division means that a judge will look at the totality of your pre-divorce situation and the expectation of what things look like after to fairly split assets and debts.
What does a judge consider when deciding?
Many factors come into play during divorce, and your financial situation is just one. When figuring out a fair divide of assets and debts, the judge looks at several things, including:
- Whether one of you stayed home to care for children
- How much premarital property you and your spouse have
- You and your spouse’s earning potential
- The circumstances that led to the divorce
A judge wants to ensure that a spouse who cares for children at home does not get penalized for not earning an income.
If you and your spouse do not want to take your chances with a judge’s decision on property division you may want to consider mediation. It will enable you to retain some semblance of control and compromise over your divorce.