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What Happens to the Family Home in a New Jersey Divorce?

Going through a divorce is a complicated process, as it requires the division of two people’s lives that were brought together as one. In most cases, this significantly impacts the future of both these parties as well as other family members who are involved. These impacts can be emotional and financial, as it is possible to lose many cherished assets in a divorce due to equitable distribution. This can include a family house. Usually, this is a place with great memories that neither party wants to give up. It is because of this that individuals who fear the loss of their home in a divorce should retain the services of an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney for assistance protecting their assets. 

What is Equitable Distribution?

During a divorce, many people have the misconception that a couple’s assets are divided 50/50 between the two of them. However, this is not always the case. Instead, courts implement a system of equitable distribution. This is a fair and just division of a couple’s assets between the two of them based on a variety of factors. 

Is a House Marital or Separate Property?

When a court determines the division of assets, they do so by considering what assets are marital property vs. what assets are separate property. Marital property is assets that were accumulated throughout the duration of a marriage, while separate property is assets acquired before or outside the marriage. Marital property is subject to equitable distribution and separate property is exempt from it. A couple’s family home is considered marital property if it was bought during the marriage or converted into marital property during it. If a spouse owned the house before the marriage and did not put the other spouse’s name on the title, it would not be subject to equitable distribution.

How Does the Court Decide Who Keeps the House?

During a divorce, the court carefully considers different factors regarding a marriage in order to determine which assets belong to which person. This can include each spouse’s age, health, financial means, family situations, and more. When equitably distributing a house, there are three different ways that this can be done. Spouses can sell the house and equally divide the proceeds. Alternatively, one spouse can buy out the other spouse’s equity in order to keep the home. A final option can include co-owning the house in order to allow a family to keep their children under the same roof. 

Contact our Firm

If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.