Law Lessons from CHRISTINA MANTEY f/k/a CHRISTINA MANTEY-SCHWARTZ VS. ERIC SCHWARTZ, App. Div., A-1831-11T4, October 29, 2012:
In McGee v. McGee, 277 N.J. Super. 1, 10 (App. Div. 1994), the court noted that N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23.1 “requires” trial judges to apply the enumerated statutory criteria for equitable distribution. Moreover, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23.1 mandates that “[i]n every case” in which an award of equitable distribution is made:
the court shall make specific findings of fact on the evidence relevant to all issues pertaining to asset eligibility or ineligibility, asset valuation, and equitable distribution, including specifically, but not limited to, the factors set forth in this section.
The statute also provides for “a rebuttable presumption that each party made a substantial financial or nonfinancial contribution to the acquisition of income and property while the party was married.” Ibid.
A trial court’s conclusions in identifying the relevant assets eligible for distribution and in ascertaining their total value must be supported by “adequate credible evidence” in the record. Rothman v. Rothman, 65 N.J. 219, 233 (1974); see also Addesa v. Addesa, 392 N.J. Super. 58, 75 (App. Div. 2007).
A trial court’s allocation of assets is reviewed as to whether such allocation “constituted an abuse of the trial judge’s discretion.” Borodinsky v. Borodinsky, 162 N.J. Super. 437, 443-44 (App. Div. 1978); see also Genovese v. Genovese, 392 N.J. Super. 215, 222 (App. Div. 2007).
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