Divorce is a difficult process and marks the end of a partnership that was begun with the belief that the partnership would last a lifetime in New Jersey. When a marriage ends after several years the issue of property division can become one that is fraught with emotion, and those emotions can make the issue that much more difficult to resolve. This can be particularly true when attempting to resolve issues regarding property division and the definition of marital property versus separate property. Real estate is frequently the largest asset held by a couple.
Marital property is typically considered to consist of debts and assets that were accrued during the marriage. Separate property usually refers to property a person acquired prior to the marriage. A recent case involved the question of real estate ownership before and during a marriage.
One individual purchased a home prior to getting married. Following the marriage, the mortgage and deed remained in that person’s name but each person contributed to the financial and physical maintenance of the home. The question of who gets the equity in the home in the divorce can be a difficult one to resolve. Factors that may come into play include whether the couple lived together in the house for a significant period prior to marriage and how much effort the other person put into improvements that increased the value of the home during the lifetime of the marriage.
Complex property division issues can add to the length of time needed to reach a divorce settlement in New Jersey. Maintaining extensive records of finances, home improvements and other significant matters can simplify the process. A knowledgeable family law professional can further help to guide one through what can be complex divorce proceedings.