Selling the House in a New Jersey Divorce

Explore with an experienced family law attorney what happens when you sell a house in a New Jersey divorce

Selling the House in a New Jersey DivorceWhen a couple decides to divorce, one of the main assets a spouse will try to keep their hands on is the family home. Why? In addition to it likely being one of the couple’s most valuable marital assets, it also may have deep sentimental value, and practical value if children are involved and go to school in the home’s neighborhood.

Marital homes are subject to equitable distribution in New Jersey divorce, so what happens to the home can be negotiated between the couple and their divorce attorneys. Equitable distribution means that marital properties – assets that have been acquired by the couple during the course of the marriage or that both spouses actively contributed to in financial or non-financial ways throughout the course of the marriage – are fairly distributed based on a number of factors.

How do you handle the family home in a New Jersey divorce?

As noted above, the marital home is likely one of the most, if not the most, valuable shared assets a couple owns. So who gets it in a divorce? A skilled family law team will help you to ensure that you get the best deal based on New Jersey’s equitable distribution laws.

New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. This means that, in a divorce, all of the couple’s marital assets are fair, if not completely evenly, distributed, based on a number of factors. If the couple acquired the home together, or one spouse purchased the home, but the other spouse put consistent financial and non-financial contributions into the property, each spouse has the right to equitable distribution of their share of the home.

Unfortunately, unlike savings and investment accounts, houses are not things that can be split. If one spouse has a sentimental attachment to the house and wants to keep it, but selling it would make for a cleaner split of the profits and resolution of the outstanding mortgage, you’ll want to lean on your divorce attorney to help negotiate the handling of the family home in a conflict-free way.

There are several options for determining who takes the house in a divorce:

  • First, one spouse can take ownership of the house by buying out the other spouse’s equity share. In this case, the spouse who maintains ownership can decide to continue living in the home – a likely boon if they have children and primary custody, and the children go to school in the area. They may also choose to sell later without a rush.
  • Alternatively, the couple can determine that they will sell the property. This could come immediately, or once some minor improvements and touch-ups have been made to increase the selling value.
  • Finally, the separating couple could determine that they will wait to sell the house until later, when market conditions have improved, or young children have completed their education in the area in which the home is located. This will require a strict written agreement between the divorcing spouses as part of the divorce agreement.

Can you sell the marital home if one partner refuses?

As noted, all marital assets are the shared property of both spouses. This means that, regardless of how much of a tantrum one spouse throws until there is an agreement on what to do with the house, it can’t be sold.

Ideally, one of the above options can be determined between the separating couple; either one partner and perhaps children can remain in the home for the time being, or the house can remain a marital asset until improvements are made for its sale.

There is, of course, an overruling party whose determination takes precedence over the disagreement of spouses. In the case that the couple cannot come to an agreement on what to do with the home, a presiding New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part judge can order that the house be sold in order to resolve the dispute.

How can a divorce attorney help with the sale of your house in NJ?

Home Division and Divorce Attorney in Union CountyA divorce attorney is an essential support during the process of dividing marital assets and determining how they will be fairly and equitably distributed. In addition to carrying experience of countless divorces in which marital homes had to be sold, bought out, or shared for a period, a divorce attorney will provide a level-headed approach for resolving any disputes regarding the sale of the home. Additionally, if your spouse does not want to make necessary improvements before selling, your divorce attorney can render a mock-up to show the potential sale price without improvements and the sale price with improvements. This type of knowledge and expertise can help you swiftly and skillfully navigate the resolution of marital assets such as marital homes that can tend to be emotional catching points.

Do you have more specific questions about your house during the divorce process? Book a consultation with Mr. Edward Cooper in Linden, NJ

Deciding what to do with your marital home is a huge decision in a divorce. Are you in the process of determining whether you’ll try to keep the house, or sell it and split profits? Make sure you have a skilled divorce attorney supporting you. We have years of experience successfully representing clients in Westfield, Summit, Springfield, Rahway, Roselle Park, Hillside, and New Providence in Union County, to ensure that their marital assets, such as residences, are protected.

At Edward Cooper´s Law Office we understand how important it is to fairly distribute your hard-earned marital assets.

Contact us at (908) 481-4625 to schedule an initial conversation with Mr. Cooper to discuss your personal needs and concerns.