Non-financial contributions to a marriage “count” during divorce

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

Courts in New Jersey aim to achieve a fair and equitable distribution of assets that spouses have acquired as a couple (marital assets) during a litigated divorce matter. Reaching an equitable order involves taking into account various factors that, such as each spouse’s contributions to the marriage.

If you were not a “breadwinner” in your marriage, it’s essential to remember that your non-financial contributions matter when dividing marital assets. You do not necessarily need to have directly contributed financially to the acquisition of marital assets to have a stake in them. Understanding what goes into the division property process during divorce is crucial to ensuring a fair settlement.

Recognizing non-financial contributions

All of your non-monetary efforts that significantly contributed to the well-being of your family and the marriage can be considered when negotiating or litigating a property division settlement. For example, raising children, managing the household, supporting your spouse’s career and providing emotional support are contributions of note.

You may have given up your career to support your spouse’s professional advancement or took on more household responsibilities to allow your spouse to focus on work. These contributions are considered non-financial but impacted your family’s collective well-being.

Take proactive steps to assert your legal rights

It’s important to recognize and safeguard your rights regarding non-financial contributions during a divorce. Remember, the court may not be privy to the role you played in the marriage, and it can help to communicate effectively.

Documenting your contributions can be helpful, including keeping records of childcare responsibilities, household management and any sacrifices you made for the family’s well-being. Also prudent is seeking legal assistance for guidance on ensuring your contributions are recognized and factored into the property division process. Making this effort can help you achieve a fair division of marital assets and more effectively protect your interests.

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