Will the NJ Supreme Court Permit Equitable Distribution of a Post-Divorce Bonus in a Short-Term Marriage Based Upon Cohabitation Prior to Marriage?

On September 26, 2016 the New Jersey Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Thieme v. Aucoin-Thieme involving a dispute over whether a $2.25M post-divorce bonus was subject to equitable distribution in a short term marriage of fourteen months, due to the fact that the parties had lived together eight years before the marriage and the bonus had been “earned” during that period.  Among the issues to be considered by the Supreme Court is whether an asset acquired during the period of cohabitation should be subject to equitable distribution.  Although not presently contemplated under the equitable distribution statute, defendant’s counsel has argued that this is an issue of “equity.”  Stay tuned for the outcome of this very interesting case, which may potentially change the nature of equitable distribution in cases involving a period of cohabitation prior to the marriage.

For more information or for assistance with a family law matter, please contact Georgia Fraser, Esq. of Fraser Family Law Office at (609)223-2099.