One of the most frequently asked questions, when parties are in a consultation for divorce is, “What is marital property?” Marital property starts on the date your marriage occurs and continues until the date the divorce is filed. That does not mean the date the divorce is granted, but the date one of the parties actually files a divorce complaint. With few exceptions, any property acquired during the course of the marriage is generally considered to be marital property, and it’s generally presumed to be split 50/50.
New Jersey, however, is a state that follows equitable distribution principles. That simply means “what is fair between the parties.” That will usually be 50/50; but, it does not have to be. If, for instance, one party has squandered the resources acquired during the marriage, the funds acquired during the marriage, a court may decide that party is not entitled to an equal split of the remaining assets. There are different factors. I once had a case where one of the spouses was carrying on an affair and paying for such things as hotel rooms, vacations, and plane tickets. In that instance, the court decided that the marital assets should not be split 50/50 and took into account the fact that many of the resources of the marriage had been given to a third person.