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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
Phone: (201) 467-4180
Fax: (201) 997-9567
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How can the home be divided in a New Jersey divorce?

Aside from child custody issues, property division is potentially one of the most contentious issues divorcing couples in New Jersey have to face. Even in amicable divorces, the division of marital property is a complex matter that requires legal guidance to achieve a fair outcome.

The residence a couple shared is often a point of contention, but doing your best to plan ahead and cover all of the bases related to a shared mortgage can help prevent unwanted surprises in the future. For instance, you don't want to apply for a mortgage loan only to find that your name is still attached to the mortgage you shared with your ex-spouse. This situation can lead to unexpected costs for both parties listed on the first mortgage contract. 

In the event that one party wants to stay in the home, it may be a good idea to refinance using his or her name. That is a possibility if the home still has equity. In that case, the person who keeps the residence can agree to pay half of the remaining equity to the other spouse. But again this agreement is best negotiated in the divorce settlement.

If two soon-to-be exes want to sell the property, then there should be a clear agreement to split any profits. It is also a good idea to set out a plan to split any costs linked to the sale of the home, as well as create a schedule for showing the property. Any profits from the sale could then be distributed or placed in escrow. Either way, these matters are likely best handled in divorce negotiations.

Now that gay marriage is legal in New Jersey, same-sex and opposite-sex spouses are bound to have these concerns in the future. In many cases, gay couples have been together for years and have accumulated significant assets that fall into the separate property category.

To protect themselves and their loved ones, gay couples may also want to consider drafting a prenuptial agreement to clarify their financial situation, as well as protect themselves and their loved ones just in case the worst happens.

Source: Reuters, "Splitsville? How to divide property in a divorce," Geoff Williams, Oct. 7, 2013

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