Morris, Downing & Sherred, LLP

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Moving out and moving on after a divorce

When a New Jersey couple divorces, it may be difficult to decide what to do with the marital house. For some, it is easier to let the other person have the house and handle the mortgage regardless of their situation. However, it may be best for some couples to maintain the status quo if they are close to repaying the mortgage in full. Once the mortgage has been repaid, it may be easier to sell the house and split the proceeds.

Some may decide to continue living together for the sake of their children and their future. The good news is that there are options for those who wish to leave their spouse without giving up on accumulated equity or necessarily having to move out. It may be possible for one person to refinance the mortgage and put it solely in his or her name.

Assuming that the other spouse is willing to sign the quitclaim deed, ownership and responsibility for making all payments passes to a single person. How a couple decides to handle their home may also be influenced by a prenuptial agreement. If one exists, it would determine whether the house will be sold, whether one party would retain ownership or if some other hybrid arrangement would be followed for the time being.

The division of marital property may be one of the most complex issues a couple faces when divorcing. Even in an amicable split, it may be advisable for each party to have separate legal representation when attempting to negotiate a comprehensive settlement agreement that addresses the applicable issues and which can be presented to the court for its approval.

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