How Divorce Impacts the Marital Home

During a divorce, couples have many concerns about splitting up their joint property and assets. One major consideration involves dividing the marital home. For couples who own a home together, the implications of a divorce have great impact on the terms of home ownership and occupation of the residence. Co-owners have several arrangements available as options.

Selling the House

The first option allows for the cleanest break; sell the home and split the profits. If the parties agree, this can happen before or after the divorce is finalized. This option seems to be the best way for couples who want to start over. The sale of the marital home may have the added benefit of cash available to each spouse so as to begin separate, post-divorce lives.

Buy Out

Another option for dividing the marital home is for one spouse to buy out the interest of the other spouse in the home. In other words, once the couple agrees on a fair price and one spouse pays the other spouse half of the home’s equity while at the same time refinancing the mortgage and/or the home equity loan into his or her name only.  In return, the spouse being bought out, signs a quit claim deed, relinquishing his or her ownership rights in the home. By buying out your spouse’s interest, you achieve sole ownership of the property while maintaining some permanency for you and your children.

Continued Co-Ownership

Divorcing couples may agree that it is best to continue to own the home together, usually for financial reasons. This is common when children are involved, as parents may want to avoid additional family disruption during a divorce, especially if the children’s school situation would be affected by a change in residence. In this case, there is usually some financial agreement in place to determine who is paying house hold expenses such as the mortgage and utilities.

Complications Without Easy Solutions

Joint home ownership creates complications for divorce when the parting spouses lack consensus on how to best proceed. This is the case when both spouses wish to retain ownership after the divorce or one of the spouses wants to sell the house. In some cases, refinancing options may be limited, or market forces may indicate that selling the house could result in financial losses. If the house is already in foreclosure, the parties also have to deal with credit issues, the bank and possibly finding a new place to live.

Bridgewater Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Advocate for the Interests of Divorcing Clients

Joint home ownership complicates divorce proceedings. If you own a home with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, the Bridgewater divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. can help. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 908-575-9777. Located in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we represent clients in Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.