Does length of marriage play a part in equitable distribution?

When a couple goes through a divorce, the marital property needs to be equitably distributed. This means that the property is given to each party in what is considered a fair manner. It is important to know that equitable does not mean equal. There are a lot of factors that must be considered during the equitable distribution process. One of those factors is the length of the marriage.

Let’s just say you were married to your spouse for 25 years but you decide that the marriage just isn’t working anymore. Any marriage over 20 years is considered a “vintage marriage.” You have built a life together and have likely acquired a lot of marital property. Marital property includes all of your assets such as your home, your car, your timeshare properties, and even the little things like the pots and pans in the kitchen and all of your furniture. It is important to know that marital property is any property that has been acquired as a couple throughout the course of your marriage. Anything that the individual persons owned before the start of the marriage does not count as marital property.

Another situation on the opposite end of the spectrum is the division of property between a couple that has only been married for less than a year and decides to get a divorce, for example. Perhaps one of the spouses entered the marriage with several homes but the other spouse did not own any real estate property. In a very short marriage, it is not likely that the party without the real estate will be granted any of the other spouse’s homes. However, if one of the pieces of property was acquired during the course of the marriage, both spouses have a chance to obtain it in the equitable distribution process.

It is also important to be aware of the fact that length of marriage has an effect on your chances of obtaining spousal support. Long marriages have a higher chance of spousal support payments than a year long marriage does. However, each situation is different. It is best to speak with an experienced divorce attorney who can analyze your specific circumstances and give you an idea of what to expect.

Paris P. Eliades Law Firm, LLC serves Sussex, Morris, and Bergen County with quality legal services regarding divorce and family law matters. If you need experienced representation and effective counsel, contact our Sparta office for a free consultation.