What Happens to a House in a New Jersey Divorce?

The process of divorce is complicated, as it calls for separating two lives that were brought together. During this time, the couple must divide their assets amongst the two of them. This can be difficult when spouses share a great deal of marital property. Generally, this includes their family house.

When couples are facing a divorce, they are often concerned about what will happen to their home after the divorce. Most houses are considered marital property. This means that they are subject to equitable distribution during the divorce process. This means that the property is divided fairly between the two. When dealing with this situation, it can be helpful to have an experienced attorney at your side to navigate the case.

When is a House Considered Marital Property?

If a couple buys or acquires property during their marriage, it is categorized as marital property. This means that if the two buy a house together, it is subject to equitable distribution in a divorce. However, if one spouse bought and owned the home before the marriage and did not put their spouse’s name on the title, the house is deemed as separate property. This means that it is not subject to equitable distribution.

Equitably Distributing a Home

When a property is equitably distributed during a divorce, it is important to know that this does not always mean it is divided equally. Instead, it means that the property is divided in a way that is fair and just to both spouses. There are three main ways a house can be distributed equitably between two spouses, including:

  • Selling the house. As most spouses cannot afford to buy out the other and keep up with the costs of the home, this is usually the easiest option. Once the house is sold, the proceeds can be divided equally between both spouses. Or, it can be divided unequally to compensate a spouse for giving up another asset.
  • Arrange a buyout. If possible, one spouse can buy out the other spouse’s equity. When this happens, the buying spouse can arrange to refinance the loan and the selling spouse receives their share of the equity. Then the loan will only be in the buying spouse’s name.
  • Continue to co-own the house. This is common when a couple has children that benefit from staying in the family home. In these situations, one spouse usually moves out and waits before selling the house. 

Contact our Firm

If you require strong legal representation for matters of divorce and family law in New Jersey, contact The Law Offices of Paone, Zaleski & Murphy to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.