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Property division in New Jersey: How do pensions fit in the mix?

by | May 12, 2020 | Property Division

When a couple makes the decision to divorce, there are a number of issues they need to discuss. One of those is property division. How are assets and debts split when a couple is soon to un-couple? One of the things that could be up for discussion concerns pensions. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state which means in the event of a divorce, marital property is not automatically split 50-50, and as such, the division of marital assets will be done in a way that is fair, but not necessarily equal.

It’s not that easy to come up with a pension division amount since a pension plan statement doesn’t usually provide the pension’s current value, but a future estimate of its value. It is that future stream of income that will be used to come up with how that pension will be divided. However, if a spouse has been making contributions to a pension longer than he or she has been married, there will be a premarital portion to that pension and only the marital portion will be included as a joint asset.

A pension’s present value can be offset with equitable distribution of other assets and will be paid in the future. Some people, however, don’t want to wait for those payments and would rather offset them with assets that are immediately available. Once a couple decides how the pension funds should be split, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order is needed from the court outlining how payments will be distributed.

Property division can get very complicated and confusing. It may take a New Jersey attorney’s help to sort out the particulars. A lawyer may be able to help a client to sort out these types of issues in a timely manner. Taking care of these important aspects of a divorce situation may make the process less exasperating.