When a couple decides to get divorced, they must separate their lives from one another. In doing so, they must divide their assets between the two of them. This process can prove to be difficult, especially when the spouses share a family home. Often times, a couple may wonder what happens to their home once the divorce is final. In most cases, a house is considered marital property. This means that it is subject to equitable distribution and will be divided fairly between the spouses. When facing this situation, it can be beneficial to have the assistance of an experienced attorney.
When is a House Considered Marital Property?
When a couple buys or acquires a property while they are married, it is considered marital property. This means that if the two buy a house together, it is subject to equitable distribution. However, if the house was bought by one spouse before the marriage and they did not put the other spouse on the title, it is not marital property. Instead, it is considered separate property and this is not subject to equitable distribution.
Equitably Distributing a Home
It is important to know that when a house is distributed equitably during a divorce, it does not always mean it is divided equally. Instead, the property is divided in a way that is fair and just to both homeowners. In New Jersey, there are three ways a house can be equitably distributed between two spouses, including:
- Selling the house. Most spouses cannot afford to buy out the other and keep up with the costs of the home, which makes selling the house the easiest option. Once the house is sold, the proceeds can be divided equally between both spouses or divided unequally to compensate a spouse for giving up another asset.
- Arrange a buyout. If feasible, one spouse can buy out the other spouse’s equity in the house. The buying spouse can arrange to refinance the loan and the selling spouse will then receive their share of the equity. Once this is done, the loan will only be in the name of the buying spouse.
- Continue to co-own the house. This is common when a couple has children and it is better to keep them in the family home. When this happens, one spouse usually moves out and waits before selling the house.
Contact our Firm
If you require strong legal representation for matters related to divorce or family law, Haber Silver Russoniello & Dunn is here to help. We proudly represent clients in Morris County and throughout the state of New Jersey. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.