Somerset County Property Division Lawyer

No one is thinking about divorce when they get married but many marriages do not last a lifetime. When marriages do end, both parties must discuss and determine certain issues to help them reach a settlement. 

If your marriage is coming to an end, you may need advice from Somerset County property division lawyers who understand all the financial implications of divorce. A compassionate divorce attorney can help you pursue the outcome you desire. 

What Does Equitable Division Mean?

Some states use a community property approach, under which all assets acquired during the marriage must be divided equally. Most states, including New Jersey, are equitable division states, where the courts have more discretion on how to divide property.

Under New Jersey law, courts merely must decide on a fair and equitable distribution of marital assets. This typically means that either spouse could get as little as one-third of the property or as much as two-thirds. 

Judges have the authority to weigh many factors before reaching a decision, such as the relative earnings of the spouses during their union, the value of one spouse staying at home or raising the children, and the earning potential that each will have in the future. 

Many of the assets that are divided are financial such as stocks, bonds, money in bank accounts, and rights to deferred compensation. The biggest asset is usually the family residence.

How is Real Estate Divided in Somerset County?

What to do with the family home depends on the specifics of the family situation. If the couple has children under 18, the parent who does most of the child-raising often keeps the marital home. If one partner bought the house with separate funds and there are no children, they can keep it and legally require the other partner to vacate.

If there are no children involved, courts vary considerably on what happens to the marital home. Neither party typically has a legal right to ask the other to leave, but one partner can always request it. If the two parties cannot agree, the court must determine the fairest outcome.

Unless the divorce is bitterly contested, it is better to sit down and negotiate a settlement that suits the individual couple’s needs rather than leaving everything up to state law. One piece of property may have special value to one of the spouses. Other issues that must be negotiated, such as child custody or visitation rights, can be added to the mix.

Understanding the Role of a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is a written contract created by two people before they are married. It typically lists all the property each person owns and any debts. It can specify what each person's property rights will be after the marriage. Some kinds of property acquired during marriage automatically become part of the marital estate. As a Somerset County property division lawyer knows, a written agreement can define whether an asset is the separate property of one spouse or whether the asset is part of the marital estate.

Ask a Somerset County Property Division Attorney About a Case

Assets should not be divided based solely on their current value. Experienced attorneys can provide a more sophisticated appraisal of an asset – its liquidity, cost basis, and any tax issues that might come along when it is sold. 

A Somerset County property division lawyer will listen to your story with respect and sympathy. The important thing is to get a skilled representation that can protect your interests, financial and otherwise. If you are dealing with the fallout of divorce, contact a lawyer.