When some people think about the property division part of a divorce case, they think of splitting everything they own “50/50” with their soon-to-be ex-spouse. However, in New Jersey, that isn’t always exactly how things end up. In family courts in New Jersey, the standard for property division is an “equitable distribution” of assets, as well as debts. That means that the court will be look for a fair result, not necessarily an even split.
As a result, it is important to work through a checklist of assets in the property division process, as well as a list of debts. Many couples going through a divorce find that, by doing so, they discover they have even more assets than they previously realized.
For most people, their most valuable asset is the family home. Deciding what to do with that asset can be tricky, because it’s not like the home can be divided down the middle. One option is for the divorcing couple to sell the home and split the proceeds from the sale. Another is for one spouse to buy out half of the equity in the home from the other spouse. Or, one spouse may want very badly to keep the home for themselves, ceding a significant amount of other assets to do so.
From there, the assets involved in a divorce case can vary widely, as no two divorce cases are the same. A couple may own: a vacation home or other real estate; business interests; vehicles; investment accounts; regular bank accounts; and even unique items of personal property, among other assets. Working through a checklist of all assets of value can help divorcing couples reach an equitable distribution.