When to Divide Marital Assets: Equitable Distribution and Property Valuation
Whether you file for divorce or civil union dissolution, marital property is divided in New Jersey by “equitable distribution.” High-net worth couple or not, complex assets such as real estate holdings, investment portfolios, retirement accounts, and family businesses and business partnerships need to first be accurately valued, then separated into marital and private ownership, and only then can they be divided according to New Jersey equitable distribution laws. Rather than an equal 50-50 split, the marital assets are divided in a manner that is fair but not necessarily equal. The valuation and asset division after the “discovery phase,” will provide the financial basis for child support, child custody, alimony and spousal support, and determine if there are any hidden assets.
At Bronzino Law Firm, LLC we have invaluable experience helping clients to understand the property at issue, and how to legally secure what is rightfully theirs. By regularly communicating with clients in a straightforward and informative manner, we can establish what marital property is a priority to you, and how to effectively negotiate for that property.
Call our Sea Girt or Brick, NJ office today at (732) 812-3102 to speak with our legal team in a free and confidential consultation, regarding the division of your assets and how we can best assist you and your family.
When is the Value of Marital Property Assessed in Sea Girt, NJ?
Historically, the date the divorce petition is filed is the date used for the purpose of valuing assets acquired during the marriage for equitable distribution. If the asset gains or loses value due to fluctuating market conditions, this gain or loss will affect both parties when the asset is sold or distributed.
In accordance with NJ Rev Stat § 2a:34-23, the court distributes property after using a 3-step process:
- Determine which property is to be distributed
- Determine the value of the marital property; and
- Calculate an equitable division of that property.
Will the business I owned in Jackson, NJ prior to my marriage be included in the equitable distribution?
Businesses that were originally owned by one spouse prior to the marriage can make resolving this complex issue challenging. Generally, any property owned by a husband, wife, or same-sex partner before their wedding day remains separate property or an “immune asset” upon divorce and considered not vulnerable to division.
As seen in Painter v. Painter, 65 N.J. 196, 214, Valentino v. Valentino, 309 N.J. Super 334, 338, and Wasserman v. Schwartz, 361 N.J. Super 399, 411, if a party fails to prove an asset is immune from equitable distribution, said property will be designated as a marital asset subject to division.
In oft cited Valentino v. Valentino, the court ruled that once a spouse proves that a particular asset, is separate and immune from division, any gain in value of that particular asset during the period of marriage is also immune, UNLESS the other spouse can prove that the increase itself in some way due to efforts on his or her part.
Can A Prenup Protect My Pre-Marriage Assets in Manasquan, NJ?
The highly contested disputes in a divorce are related to property and asset division and having a prenuptial agreement carefully crafted by an experienced Ocean County prenuptial agreement attorney can prevent some of the most contentious aspects of any divorce, and save both parties time, money, and stress. While prenuptial agreements and other marital agreements have traditionally handled more material assets, in recent years prenuptial agreements have progressively begun to address more modern concepts related to things like:
- Intellectual Property
- Social Media Platforms
- Pet Custody
CONTACT AN OCEAN COUNTY, NJ EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION ATTORNEY TODAY
The family law firm of Peter J. Bronzino has extensive experience helping clients across Ocean and Monmouth Counties, including Brick, Jackson, Toms River, and Point Pleasant, to negotiate, draft, and finalize marital property division agreements which are both fair and protects the assets they care most about. By consulting with qualified and trusted financial experts, we help to properly evaluate complex marital assets, investments, accounts, and debts, thus helping us to draft a settlement which protects our clients’ rights and future.
Our small size allows us to develop personal and attentive relationships with our clients, while at the same time letting us charge fair and reasonable rates for our services. We believe that honest and regular communication with our clients is the best way of ensuring they are informed and involved in the legal process, and that we are negotiating for the things they care most about in their marital property division agreement.
To speak with our family law team in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce and any issues or concerns you may have, please contact us online or through either our Sea Girt or Brick office at (732) 812-3102 today.