When a couple decides to divorce in New Jersey there are many issues to be resolved around who gets what. One issue that may arise is what assets are considered marital property and what are not. Many may understand that assets held prior to marriage are not usually considered marital property. However, there may be exceptions to this where property division is concerned.
In one instance, a woman had purchased and lived in a home prior to the marriage. The married couple lived in the house and paid off the mortgage. During this period, certain improvements were made to the home that were funded by both parties. In addition, bills, including the mortgage, were paid jointly.
The value of real estate typically increases over time. One factor that can contribute to an increase in value is improvements or additions made to the home over time. In a scenario where one spouse purchased the home but the other spouse made contributions, either financially or through improvements, that helped to increase its value, that spouse may have a right to a share of the property based on the increased value during the period of the marriage.
Property division can be complex, and arriving at a fair settlement can be complex and time consuming. According to New Jersey law, assets held prior to marriage are typically not subject to rules concerning equitable distribution of property. Depending on one's own situation, there may be exceptions. A person considering divorce may wish to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney for clarification of the issue in question.