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What Happens to the House in a New Jersey Divorce? 

What Happens to the House in a New Jersey Divorce? Dividing assets is often a part of divorce proceedings. Property may be one of the biggest assets that a couple shares, making it an important consideration. If you’re considering divorce or you’re already discussing divorce with your spouse, knowing New Jersey’s laws and what happens to the house during divorce is important.

Separate vs. Marital Property

One of the first things determining who maintains ownership of a house in a divorce is whether the property is considered separate or marital property. Separate property means that the house belonged to a spouse before marriage. Marital property means that both spouses acquired the property together.

Who’s name is on the mortgage or deed is less important than when the property was acquired, according to New Jersey law. Even if a home has just one spouse’s name on the mortgage or deed, it’s subject to division during divorce if the couple was married when the property was acquired.

In some cases, even acquired property may be considered shared assets, especially if it becomes co-mingled with other assets. New Jersey may consider any additions or increased value to the home when determining who gets what. Separate property protected by a prenuptial agreement is usually excluded from divorce.

New Jersey also considers separate and marital property when dividing other assets, like vehicles, retirement accounts, and boats.

Equitable Distribution in New Jersey

New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, which means it aims to divide assets fairly and equitably. This is not the same as equal distribution, which automatically divides all assets and assigns each spouse 50%. Instead, New Jersey courts consider many factors when deciding who gets what, including the length of the marriage, the income of each spouse, the standard of living, the earning capacity of each spouse, and what contributions or debts each spouse made to the marriage related to the property.

How to Fairly Split a Home

There are a few ways to handle the division of a home that was acquired in marriage, including:

  • Selling the home: The couple may decide to sell the home and then split any profits earned after paying the mortgage and commissions
  • Buying out the other spouse: If one spouse wants to stay in the home, they may buy out the other spouse’s equity, which means they maintain full ownership of the asset
  • Joint ownership: Some couples may agree to maintain joint ownership until they can figure out other living arrangements

The court may decide on their behalf if a couple cannot agree to one of these arrangements. It’s best to come to an agreement before the trial that works for everyone. Working with a divorce lawyer can help you explore your options while coming to an agreement with your spouse. No two divorces are the same, and unique financial situations and ownership statuses can affect the best way to divide the property.

In New Jersey, the court is tasked with dividing assets in a way they believe is fair. When you work with a divorce lawyer who represents you, you can ensure your best interests are protected throughout the divorce process.

Contact a Moorestown Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Divorce in New Jersey Today

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter, such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Cordry Hartman, LLC represent clients throughout the state, including Moorestown, Cherry Hill, Evesham Township, and Mount Laurel. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at 856-452-4474 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 505 S. Lenola Rd, Ste 224, Moorestown, NJ 08057.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.