The distribution of property in connection with a divorce is a complex legal issue. Even answers to seemingly simple questions like who should get a marital home that was purchased before the wedding may surprise you.
Courts consider a number of factors when determining the distribution of property, including whether or not the couple has a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, and if the state in which the couple lives is a community property or common law state.
New Jersey happens to be an equitable distribution, or common law, state. Even here, ownership documentation like deeds and registrations alone may not be enough to establish who is entitled to what property. Courts consider other mitigating factors in making their determination. In the case of a marital home, for example, courts will consider not only who initially purchased the home, but also whether or not marital funds were used to pay the mortgage or make improvement to the home. For more insight into how marital property is treated in divorce proceedings, read “Martial Home Purchased Before Marriage: How Is It Treated?”