When divorcing, you will be confronted with an array of challenges including ironing out the contentious issue of property distribution. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. This means a couple’s marital property is distributed fairly between each spouse, not necessarily in an even 50/50 split. Essentially, one spouse may receive a larger share of the marital assets if it is fair in the judge’s eyes. Many couples often wonder whether they can keep gifts in a divorce. Keep reading to learn whether gifts are subject to equitable distribution and discover how a skilled Ocean County Property Division Attorney can help you protect your hard-earned assets.
Are gifts subject to equitable distribution in a New Jersey divorce?
When facing a divorce, if you and your spouse cannot come to a mutual agreement about property division, the decision will be left up to a judge. Generally, states follow one of two systems when it comes to determining an appropriate split of their marital assets. States may follow community property or equitable distribution systems. In a community property state, any assets accumulated during the marriage are typically split equally between both parties. However, in an equitable distribution state, any assets accumulated during the marriage are split fairly between both parties, but not necessarily equally. As mentioned above, New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. This means marital property is distributed in whatever way the judge deems a fair split between each spouse. When determining what is fair and just for both parties, the court will consider the following:
- The duration of the marriage
- Each spouse’s age and health
- Each spouse’s income and potential earning capacity
- Each spouse’s education
- The tax consequences of the division of property
- The value of the property and the standard of living established during the marriage
- Each spouse’s financial obligations
- Any alimony, child support, and child custody orders
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage
Ultimately, they will consider several factors to determine a fair split of the couple’s marital property. However, it is important to note that only marital property is subject to equitable distribution. Separate property, any assets accumulated during the marriage are not subject to equitable distribution. With that being said, many couples wonder whether gifts are subject to equitable distribution. The answer depends on whether the gift was an interspousal gift meaning it was given from one spouse to the other. Usually, if the gift was given from one spouse to the other, the gift is considered marital property as the couple’s marital funds were likely used to purchase the gift. If this is the case, the gift will be subject to equitable distribution. If the gift was given from a non-spouse, the gift will be considered separate property and therefore is not subject to equitable distribution.
For more information on how marital property and debts are divided between spouses in a New Jersey divorce, please contact one of our trusted and dedicated team members. Our firm is committed to helping our clients achieve favorable results.