What Should I Do With the House During a Divorce?
The marital home is oftentimes a family’s greatest asset and therefore the division/sale of the marital home may become quite contentious. With that being said, there are only a few possible outcomes when discussing the sale/buyout of the marital home as follows:
- The house is sold. If both parties agree to sell the house they should jointly select a mutually agreeable realtor to list the home for sale and they should also agree on a division of the net sale proceeds from the sale of the house. It is important to note that there is no requirement that the sale proceeds be divided on an equal basis. Since the house is being listed for sale, the realtor will assist the parties in establishing the appropriate sale’s price for the home and therefore a formal appraisal is not needed.
- One party buys out the other parties’ interest in the home. If one party wants to retain the home and the other party agrees that they may do so—then the parties should have the home appraised by an expert. If possible, the parties should retain a joint expert to appraise/value the home. Once the appraisal report is received and if the parties agree to the value assessed by the appraiser, then they should deduct any liabilities associated with the home (mortgages/liens, etc.) to determine the net value of the property. The parties should then agree to buyout terms, i.e. the percentage share that the party who is leaving the home should receive and the payment schedule for same, i.e. will they receive a lump sum buyout payment or will the buyout occur over a period of time.
- Both parties want to retain the home. If both parties want to retain the home and no agreement can be reached with respect to this issue, then the parties may address this issue in the Superior Court of New Jersey where a Judge will ultimately decide whether one party has a superior right to stay in the home or whether the home should be sold.
Finally, absent a restraining order being entered in a family law action, neither party has the right to remove the other party from the home during the pendency of the parties’ family law litigation.
The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice, is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied on as such. For legal advice or answers to specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys.