A marriage is generally viewed as a partnership. Rather than having a business partner, however, in a marriage, the spouses are partners with each other. In this partnership, all assets or income acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage is marital property. Generally speaking, the relevant time period is the date of the marriage to the filing of the Complaint for Divorce. In that period, any income or asset acquired by you or your husband, jointly or individually, is considered marital property. The only exception would be for monies received by inheritance or gift from third parties that weren’t placed into a joint account.
In this instance, annual bonuses received during the marriage are compensation for work performed during the marriage. In this regard, bonuses are treated the same as a regular paycheck that was received during the course of the marriage. Regardless of whether those bonuses were deposited in a separate account with only the husband’s name or into a joint account, they remain joint marital property. As such, they are subject to equitable distribution and should be divided equally between you.
Gregory D.R. Behringer is a family lawyer at the law firm of Laufter, Dalena, Cadicina, Jensen & Boyd, LLC in Morristown, New Jersey. View the firm’s Divorce Magazine profile.
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