Who Gets to Keep the House in a Divorce?
Divorce is almost always complicated, as couples and their families have a lot at stake. One of the most contentious divorce-related matters is property distribution. Often, when couples get divorced, key assets, such as their savings accounts, 401(k)s, vehicles, and even their homes, are up for equitable distribution. For many, however, their house is far more than just another monetary asset, as it has a great deal of sentimental and practical value as well. Please continue reading and reach out to the Law Offices of Katherine K. Wagner today to learn more about how courts in New Jersey determine who gets to keep the house in a divorce and how our firm can assist you.
First, you should understand that New Jersey is not a “community property” state. In community property states, anything acquired during the marriage, absent a prenuptial agreement is split 50/50. New Jersey is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that one party may get more than 50% of the assets if it is “equitable.” In simplest terms, “equitable” does not necessarily mean “equal.”
In New Jersey, there are generally two ways to address the equity in the house; it can be sold and the proceeds divided by the parties or one or the other party can refinance and buy-out the other’s equitable distribution interest in the asset. In some cases where there are young children residing in the house, one party may delay his or her share of the equity for a certain period of time, e,g, until the children are in high school, or they graduate from high school. However, this would require the affirmative agreement of the party who is delaying receiving his or her share of the equity.
If no agreement can be reached, the court may hold a hearing to determine which party has a greater attraction for or sentimental feeling for the house. However, the party receiving the house would still be required to refinance the house and buy-out the other party’s equitable distribution interest.
These are some of the ways that the courts in New Jersey can determine what happens to the house in a divorce. If you are getting divorced and are concerned about whether you will have to leave your marital home, contact us today.
Do not face complex divorce and family law matters alone. With over 25 years of experience, the Law Offices of Katherine K. Wagner is dedicated to providing you with the knowledge and skill your case deserves. We will fight to protect your rights, your financial security, and your children. Contact the Law Offices of Katherine K. Wagner today for a consultation.
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Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney At Law is located in Somerville, NJ and serves clients in and around Somerville, Raritan, Lyons, Bridgewater, Manville, Zarephath, Neshanic Station, Pluckemin, Whitehouse, Martinsville, Bound Brook, Belle Mead, South Bound Brook, Bedminster, Whitehouse Station, Three Bridges, Liberty Corner, Warren, Middlesex, Somerset, Stanton, Skillman, Blawenburg, Far Hills and Somerset County.
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