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The Impact of Marital Misconduct on Property Division in New Jersey

Unhappy couple dividing marital property in office of divorce lawyer

When couples decide to dissolve their marriage, the division of marital assets becomes a crucial aspect of the divorce proceedings. In New Jersey, the distribution of assets must be equitable, but not necessarily equal. This means that the court looks at several factors to decide how to divide assets fairly. One question that often arises is whether marital misconduct, such as infidelity or financial misconduct, can impact the division of marital property. Read on for a discussion of this important topic, and contact the Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro for help with divorce and other family law matters in Union, Essex, or Middlesex County.

Understanding Equitable Distribution in New Jersey

New Jersey follows the principle of equitable distribution, which involves a fair division of assets accrued during the marriage. It’s important to note that “equitable” does not necessarily mean “equal.” The courts consider various factors, including the duration of the marriage, the age and physical health of the parties, the standard of living established during the marriage, and each party’s economic circumstances.

The Role of Marital Misconduct in Divorce Proceedings

While New Jersey is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that a divorce can be granted without the need to prove wrongdoing by either party, the issue of marital misconduct can still come into play, especially in disputes over the division of assets. Marital misconduct includes a range of behaviors such as infidelity, hiding assets, excessive spending, or other actions that can strain the financial stability of the marital partnership.


Contrary to what many might assume, infidelity alone does not usually influence the division of assets directly. New Jersey courts typically do not consider infidelity as a factor unless it has had a significant economic impact on the marital estate. For instance, if one spouse used substantial marital funds to buy gifts, pay for trips, or support an extramarital partner, this financial impact could be considered in the equitable distribution of assets.

Financial Misconduct

Financial misconduct, such as the dissipation (wasting or hiding) of marital assets, can have a more direct impact on how assets are divided. If one spouse can prove that the other has squandered marital funds frivolously or secretly withdrawn from joint accounts, the court may award a greater portion of the remaining marital assets to the wronged spouse to offset these losses.

Case Studies and Legal Precedents

Several cases in New Jersey have set precedents on how marital misconduct that affects the economic status of the marriage is treated. For instance, in cases where one spouse has gambled away a substantial portion of marital funds, courts have considered this behavior in their decisions, often awarding a compensatory larger share of the remaining assets to the non-gambling spouse.

Navigate Complex Divorce Scenarios With a Trusted Union Divorce Lawyer

The complexities involved in cases where marital misconduct affects asset division underscore the importance of having skilled legal representation. At the Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro, we provide experienced guidance to ensure that our clients’ rights and interests are protected throughout the divorce process. Understanding the nuances of how marital misconduct can influence the outcome of asset division is critical in advocating for an equitable distribution that reflects the true nature of the economic partnership and its dissolution.

If you are going through a divorce in Union, Essex, or Middlesex County and believe that marital misconduct may impact the division of your assets, call the Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro to discuss your case and learn more about your legal options from an experienced and dedicated Union family law attorney.

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