East Brunswick Marital Agreement Laws

As a matter of public policy in East Brunswick and the rest of New Jersey, judges promote settlements of cases and consequently are loathe to vacate or void an agreement if there is a problem between the ex-spouses after their divorce has been finalized.

The family part of the Superior Court of New Jersey is designed to facilitate settlements of divorce cases in the state of New Jersey, and nearly all divorces in the state are resolved that way. That is one of many reasons it is essential to hire a dedicated attorney that specializes in East Brunswick marital agreement laws.

What is Marital Property and Separate Property in East Brunswick?

Property is just what most people commonly believe it is, but under East Brunswick marital agreement laws, marital property is typically any property acquired during the course of the marriage. What is known as the marital coverture period begins on the date they were married and concludes when one of the spouses files for divorce. Property acquired once the divorce action has been commenced will most likely be deemed separate and not part of the marital estate.

An example of marital property would be the home purchased by the family during the marriage with the deed in both spouses’ names. Another common issue is retirement funds, which under New Jersey divorce law are deemed marital property from either the date of marriage or the date the retirement account was established up until the divorce is filed.

Each party has a right to half of the other spouse's retirement assets. For example, if the husband had a 401(k) worth $300,000 and the wife had a 401(k) worth $100,000, those accounts could be equalized by the way of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order Under. For example, the husband would need to roll over $100,000 into his now ex-wife's 401(k) so the accounts are of equal value and each party obtained half of the retirement asset.

East Brunswick Separate Property

The most common example of separate property is when one of the spouses received an inheritance. If one spouse receives an inheritance, but keeps it in a separate account and never uses the money for marital expenses, that money will be deemed separate property and the other spouse will have no claim to it. If, however, a spouse receives an inheritance and uses that money to buy a new home for them  and their spouse, and the deed is in both names, that spouse will have co-mingled what would have been separate or exempt property, and now it would be deemed marital property.

What is Marital Expense in East Brunswick?

A marital expense is covered under the case information statement requiring financial disclosure. A common scenario is when one of the spouses owned a home prior to the marriage. Under that scenario, if the spouse who owns the premarital home puts their new spouse on the deed, the new spouse has the right to 50 percent of what is now a marital asset. On the other hand, if the spouses live in the home as a married couple, but the new spouse was never placed on the deed, that spouse may still have a claim towards some of the value of what is still a marital asset. What would have been a separate asset has been co-mingled into the marital estate because they are living there as a married family.

This could present a problem, however, because the fact that only one spouse is on the deed could result in the other spouse getting less than 50 percent of its value. That is an extremely fact-sensitive situation.

What Can a Marital Agreement Attorney do for You?

One of the first things a lawyer will do is try to determine how long that spouse been living in the home. If the parties were married for less than one year, the new spouse probably has very little or no claim towards the marital home. If the parties were married for 20 years, an attorney with experience in East Brunswick marital agreement laws may be able to get back 50 percent of the value of the marital home, even though the second spouse’s name is not on the deed. 

The family court of the Superior Court of New Jersey is a court of equity, a matter of fairness. Even though the spouse is not on the deed, the other side would be seen as unjustly enriched if they were to retain 100 percent of that property they have shared 20 years.