Apart from the custody of children, the division of marital property and debts is one of the biggest disputes that couples confront during divorce. Many people carry the false conviction that, following a divorce, marital assets must be divided equally. Who will keep what after a divorce depends on a number of elements, including the laws of the state in which the couple lives or where the divorce is filed.

If you are considering a divorce in New Jersey, you may want to know how your assets will be distributed after your separation. New Jersey is a common law property state and supports equitable distribution of properties, which means the marital property will be split between separating couples in a manner that is fair, or equitable, but not necessarily equal.

Common law holds that the assets and debts a couple accumulates during their marriage is marital property. Any property acquired prior to the marriage or received as a gift or inherited by one party is separate property and will be held completely and solely by that party.

Generally, properties like the family home, any vacation homes, motor vehicles, jewelry, cash and income are subject to division in a divorce. In case of high asset divorces, substantial complex assets, such as business ventures, investment properties, stocks, retirement accounts and pensions may be included.

Differentiating marital property from separate property is never an easy task. If you are currently going through a divorce proceeding and you and your partner differ about whether particular property is marital or separate, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced divorce and family law attorney who can safeguard your interest in the properties.