When it comes to divorce in New Jersey, you want to make sure you know what you’re getting into - and what you’ll come away with. And that’s what Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler are wondering as well. Former professional football player, Cutler, has requested half of Cavallari’s jewelry and lifestyle brand. Cavallari launched the brand after the two were married, which Cutler says are grounds for him to receive half of it. On the other hand, Cavallari says that he did not put any of his money into the company, so he is not entitled to any portion of the company. What are the New Jersey laws regarding the division of assets in a divorce?
Is New Jersey a Community Property State?
The short answer is no. New Jersey is an ‘equitable distribution’ state. That means that a married couple does not divide their marital assets 50/50 when they get a divorce, as it is done in community property states. Instead, they split their marital property by value along equitable and fair lines. This means that the division of marital assets is decided on a case-by-case basis, rather than a simple formula that does not take other factors into consideration.
How Assets Are Divided in a New Jersey Divorce
The assets of a married couple in New Jersey are divided by ‘equitable distribution.’ This means the court will look at what each party to the divorce has brought to the relationship throughout the marriage. They’ll look at what assets each party uses within the relationship. Equitable does not mean equal: it means fair and reasonable. The truth is, there are many different factors to consider in an equitable divorce versus an ‘equal divorce.’
What Does Equitable Division Mean?
Equitable division means that each party gets what is fair for them. This looks at factors such as when a specific asset was acquired and even how it was acquired or how it was used. That means there are situations where an asset could be acquired after the marriage, but only belong to one party. There are also situations where an asset could be in one party’s name, but still belong to both parties. The court looks at all of these factors in determining equitable division.
Is Equitable Division Fair?
Equitable division is meant to be fair, however, whether it is fair or not depends on many factors. Some believe that equitable division is the fairest way to divide assets as it considers more factors than a simple 50/50 split. The person who brought more into the relationship through their work may have a better chance of getting more back out of the divorce with equitable division. On the other hand, the spouse who did not bring as many assets into the relationship may have done more to keep the relationship functioning, such as caring for the couple’s children and family home, which would not necessarily be represented in an ‘equal’ or 50/50 divorce.
What Guidelines Are Used to Divide Assets in a NJ Divorce?
There are three main steps in the process of dividing assets in a New Jersey divorce.
- First, marital property must be defined.
- Then, it needs to be valued.
- Then, it can be divided.
The valuation process considers property acquired during the marriage including assets and debts. There may also be some assets from before the marriage that are still considered part of the marital property.
Property is divided based on what is considered ‘fair’ to both parties involved, including their needs and their contributions in all ways throughout the course of the marriage.
What it All Means
The Cavallari Cutler division of assets is also based on equitable distribution. Tennessee is not a community property state, Tennessee is also an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution means property will be divided equitably according to a set of listed statutory factors. This is something that Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler are starting to see in negotiating their divorce - what is fair and equitable to Cavallari may not seem fair and equitable to Cutler. Since Cavallari launched the brand after they were married, Cutler says it is grounds for him to receive half of it, as he contributed to the success of the business and made it possible for her to launch a business while he cared for the couple’s 3 children. Cavallari says that as he did not contribute any of his money to the company, he is not entitled to any portion of the company.
What Does This Mean For Your Divorce?
In complex and high net worth divorces with multiple income streams and businesses, negotiation of a divorce can be difficult. Working with an experienced divorce and family law attorney can protect your rights and ensure that your present and future are better protected.
Protect What Matters Most
Our experienced divorce and family law attorneys will help you protect what matters most. Stolfe Zeigler New Jersey Family Law Group’s attorneys can help you understand your options and fight for a fair and equitable distribution of your marital assets. If you are seeking assistance with any divorce and family law matter, we are here to help. With offices in Toms River and Moorestown, our divorce and family law attorneys can help you seek a fair resolution so that you can begin to move forward with your life as soon as possible. Contact us today at 732-585-1651 to discuss your case.