Heymann & Fletcher

How to handle the family home during property division

The division of marital wealth is the primary focus of many divorcing New Jersey couples. How to handle the disposition of the family home is one of the most emotionally charged aspects of property division, and an area in which many couples struggle to reach an agreement. At the end of the day, there are two main options. One is to sell the home, the other is to allow one spouse to retain the property.

Selling the family home is certainly the more simple approach. Even after considering the hassles of hiring a real estate agent, preparing the home for sale and navigating the sales process, offloading the property allows both spouses to walk away from the home free and clear. In many cases, this approach also provides a bit of profit for each spouse to use to build financial stability for the years to come.

However, there are many cases in which one spouse has a sincere desire to stay in the family home. In order to do so, he or she will need to find the funds necessary to "buy out" the other spouse's share in the property. That can be easier said than done, and securing a mortgage to cash out the necessary share of equity is not always a possibility. In some cases, the spouse who wishes to stay in the home can give the other party a greater share of other assets, such as retirement savings or other investments.

No matter how a New Jersey couple decides to approach the issue of the family home, these are decisions that should be made objectively, without undue emotional influence. There are pros and cons to both selling or keeping the family home, and the right choice will differ from one family to the next. As with any property division options, this is a decision that should be made only after both sides have been fully informed of the potential ramifications.

Source: marketwatch.com, "What to do about your home in a divorce", Shawn Leamon, March 16, 2017

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