One of the most highly-contested issues in a divorce is who will get to keep the house. To avoid this dispute altogether, you may be considering just selling the house beforehand. Continue reading to learn whether you should sell your house before you get divorced and how an experienced Bergen County equitable distribution attorney at McNerney & McAuliffe can help you reach a sound decision.
How will the divorce court distribute my house?
Before all else, New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. Meaning, the New Jersey family court will first differentiate between your and your former spouse’s separate property and marital property. Your separate property is considered to be the property you acquired outside or prior to your marriage, and it will be distributed accordingly. But your marital property is considered to be the property acquired together during the marriage, which most likely includes your family home. And so, your house will be distributed based on a variety of factors, such as the following:
- Your and your former spouse’s yearly income.
- The value of the house.
- The cost of maintaining the house.
- The taxes associated with the house.
- The alimony agreement in place.
- The child custody agreement in place, and whether your child will have to move out.
- The extent to which you and your former spouse financially and non-financially contributed to the home.
Should I sell my house before I go to divorce court?
You may want to sell your house before you go to divorce court for several different reasons. For one, you may conclude that neither you nor your former spouse can keep up with the cost of maintaining the house and its associated taxes independently. With this, you may agree that a buy-out is not a viable option. And understandably, you may agree that continuing to co-own the house is not an ideal alternative, either.
If you sell your house before your divorce proceedings, then you and your former spouse can divide up the profits equally. Or, you can divide up the profits into unequal shares if you are compensating for other significant assets that are being distributed. You can then use these profits to buy two separate homes that are, ideally, near one another and even within the same school district so that your child is not severely impacted by the move.
This is a promising option if you and your former spouse have remained amicable since you decided to get a divorce. What’s more, you will have more control over how this large asset is handled, instead of it being left in the hands of equitable distribution law. For more information on asset division, reach out to a skilled Bergen County family law attorney today.