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Important factors of separate property and marital assets

Though you hope to enjoy a long, healthy marriage, that is not the case for every couple. Therefore, it can be wise to plan for the instance of a divorce so the process can be as fair as possible.

Whether you are getting a divorce or are just looking to be prepared, it is important to understand how the courts will view your assets. There are a few key differences to understand about separate property and marital assets.

Marital assets

Marital assets cover a broad range of property. Simply put, most assets that either individual acquires during the course of the marriage are usually marital assets. The state of New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. In short, this means that in the eye of the court, property belongs to the individual who earns it, and the division of the property is done fairly with consideration of this factor. To decide the division calculations, the court utilizes certain criteria. Should an individual make a large purchase during divorce proceedings, the value of this new asset is usually deducted from the settlement amount the individual receives.

Separate property

Though marital assets designation is broad, there are certain assets the courts deem as separate property. This is usually property the individual did not acquire through personal funding. Such assets include:

  • Inheritance
  • Gifts
  • Personal injury settlement

If an individual has property from a previous marriage, it is usually separate property as well.


If a person commingles separate property in a joint account with her or his spouse, it can become a marital asset. However, if the person can trace a clear trail of the use and distribution of the separate property, it may be possible to maintain its separate property status.

Though asset division is pretty straight forward, it is still an in-depth process. It is important you understand how the courts view your assets. Take time to do your research, as well as speak with a knowledgeable professional, if necessary. 

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