Equitable Distribution New Jersey
In Carr v. Carr, 120 N.J. 336, 349-50, 576 A.2d 872 (1990), the Supreme Court recognized that the public policy underlying both the equitable distribution and the elective share statutes was that "each spouse contributes to and creates marital assets and thereby has an entitlement in such property that is protectable when the marriage ends." Id. at 349, 576 A.2d 872.
The Supreme Court further noted that "courts should be responsive to legislation as expressive of public policy" and that in the exercise of common law jurisdiction, courts should rely on the public policies that form the basis of legislation even though the legislation itself might not be applicable in a particular matter. Id. at 350, 576 A.2d 872.
Accordingly, although statutory relief was unavailable to the wife in Carr, the court held that it could exercise its inherent equitable jurisdiction and craft an equitable remedy for the wife that would protect her interest in the marital estate. Id. at 350-51, 576 A.2d 872.
Specifically, the Court found that a constructive trust should be imposed upon the marital property to the extent the wife could prove an interest in that property.