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How community property laws impacts residents

New Jersey residents may be interested to learn that any property that is acquired during a marriage is considered community property. Examples of community property may include any money that is earned by either party to the marriage or interest earned on money in a savings or brokerage account. A family home or anything purchased to furnish the home may also be considered community property. A court may also rule that property has become community property as it was commingled during the marriage.

In a community state, marital property is generally divided 50/50 between both parties. However, this is not always the case, and a judge will use several factors to determine how to divide such items. For instance, a child's primary caretaker or the spouse with the lower earning potential may get a larger share of marital property. If either party was at fault for the divorce, that party may receive a smaller share of community property.

Grounds for fault in a divorce may include adultery by either party or cruelty by one spouse toward the other. Judges may also look at whether one person may be entitled to a large inheritance in the future as well as the health and physical condition of each person when determining how to split community property.

A common issue that may arise during a divorce is how property obtained during the marriage should be split. Talking with an attorney may help an individual protect his or her property division rights and possibly obtain as large a share of existing marital property as possible. An attorney may point out that an individual is the custodial parent of a child or has other special needs that make it imperative that he or she be given extra resources to handle those circumstances.

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