Abandonment of the Home in a New Jersey Divorce

Determining who gets to keep the marital home during a divorce may be difficult and can often lead to tension. Since you and your spouse are not able to live together anymore, you may be concerned about your legal rights to the property when the divorce is finalized. In some cases, your spouse may have moved out and stopped helping with the rent, mortgage, or other house payments, which can also create financial strain.

A property division lawyer can help you understand the legal aspects of abandonment of the home after a divorce according to New Jersey law and answer any questions you have regarding the distribution of this crucial asset.

How Does Property Get Divided in a New Jersey Divorce?

In New Jersey, marital assets are divided using “equitable distribution,” which means that the court will attempt to fairly divide the property between the divorcing couple. Under N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23.1, the court will use a number of factors to make property division determinations, including:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age and health of the couple
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The economic circumstances of each spouse
  • The income and earning capacity of each spouse
  • The present value of the property
  • The need of a parent who has physical custody of a child to own or occupy the marital residence
  • Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.

Any property acquired by either spouse while in the marriage are usually considered marital assets and are subject to equitable distribution in a divorce, with certain exeptions.

While many couples purchase a home together while they are married, there may be situations where the home was purchased before the marriage or only one of the spouses is listed on the deed. In these situations, the home may be considered separate property and not a marital asset subject to distribution.

In addition, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements may affect how the marital home is distributed in a divorce in New Jersey.

What is Considered Abandonment of the Home?

Sometimes, divorcing spouses think that they must remain in the home or they will lose their right to it as a marital asset. However, staying in the home may not be necessary to maintain a legal interest in a piece of property in New Jersey.

Under state law, divorces in New Jersey can both be “at fault” and “no fault.” Under a no-fault divorce, there is no issue of spousal abandonment that might affect property division. In certain situations, such as domestic violence, the court may order one spouse to leave the house.

Dividing the Home

Each situation is different, but there are a variety of ways to divide the home in a divorce. Some options include:

  • Selling the home and splitting the proceeds
  • Allowing one spouse to buy the other spouse out of the home or the remaining interest in the home
  • Agreeing to co-own the home until a certain point, such as when minor children grow up and move out

There may be other options for a family to pursue depending on their particular circumstances that a property distribution lawyer could further explain during a consultation.

Reach Out to a New Jersey Attorney Regarding Abandonment of the Home in a Divorce

If you are undergoing a divorce, you are likely wondering what to do about your marital home that you shared with your spouse. It is important to understand your legal rights regarding abandonment of the home before you begin your New Jersey divorce, which is why you should contact a compassionate attorney as soon as possible.  Our team has experience with situations similar to your own and can offer valuable guidance. Call today to get started on your case.

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