What is the Equitable Distribution Process Like?

When a couple gets a divorce, they are enduring stress stemming from all basic aspects of life. Those in a divorce are very often concerned about their finances and are emotionally drained due to the time-consuming nature of the litigation process. Contested divorces very often result in what is known as “equitable distribution.” Unfortunately for some spouses, “equitable” does not always mean “equal.” In fact, “equitable” more closely means what the court sees as a fair and just distribution of assets. However, sometimes courts are wrong, despite their efforts to collect evidence to obtain a clear, well-rounded picture regarding how your marriage functions financially. If you are getting a divorce and are concerned your financial assets are at stake, here are some of the questions you may have:

What is marital property?

When you are entering the equitable distribution process, the courts will first determine which of your assets are marital and which are considered separate. Essentially, property acquired during your marriage will be deemed marital property, while assets obtained prior to or outside of your marriage will generally be determined separate assets. Separate property is usually not eligible to be equitably distributed.

How will courts divide assets in a divorce?

When a couple gets divorced, the courts will consider several aspects of both parties’ finances as a whole. For example, courts will consider your ages, earning power, debts, liabilities, tax consequences, economic status, and more. 

How can I protect my assets from a divorce?

One of the most important things a couple can do to protect their assets is to draft a prenuptial agreement before they are married. A prenuptial agreement will detail exactly what will happen with each spouse’s assets in the event of a divorce. Additionally, if you and your spouse jointly own a business, you may draft a shareholder agreement, which will suit both of your interests in the business if you ever get a divorce. However, if you are already married, fortunately, you are not out of luck. Those already married may draft a postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement functions almost exactly the same as a prenuptial agreement, though it is drafted after marriage. If you are interested in drafting an agreement with your spouse, reach out to our compassionate firm today.

Contact our experienced New Jersey firm

The Law Office of Toby Grabelle, LLC is a family and divorce law firm serving Monmouth County and all of New Jersey that would be happy to assist you in legal counsel. We understand how serious and potentially impactful divorce and family issues can be, which is why we dedicate ourselves to providing our clients with compassionate and knowledgeable legal advice and action. If you need quality legal services, please do not hesitate to contact the firm for a consultation.