Is co-ownership of the family home a viable option in divorce?
The Family Home and Divorce Lawyers Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
Helping divorce clients throughout Monmouth and Ocean County towns such as Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey
A divorce is a destabilizing event for all involved. In the case that the couple has children, that effect is amplified, as the emotional attachments developed in a home are difficult to let go of in the transition out of the traditional family structure. Because the home is likely the largest asset a couple shares, and its value is not only financial but also emotional, the decision about what to do with a home is a big one. Depending on the nature of the split and the relationship between the exes during the divorce, deciding what to do with the family home can cause emotional and financial upheaval that a divorce attorney can help mediate.
What do I need to keep in mind when I’m considering whether to keep the house in a divorce?
Even if it is mutually decided upon, there are many factors that need to be considered before stepping up to keep the home in a split. One of the most important – and yet most difficult – things to keep in mind is that all decisions regarding the division of assets would best be done objectively. For this reason, getting support for mediation is often a wise decision in the asset division process.
What is your reason for wanting to keep the home? If it is strictly emotional, it would be wise to take a full inventory of the pros and cons of keeping the home.
What are your financial capacities, and do the costs of house upkeep – including mortgage, insurance, property taxes, and repairs – make sole ownership of the home a worthy and sustainable investment?
What is the family’s financial position, and as such, what will be the interchange? What will you have to give up in order to get the home? It is unlikely that an ex will hand over the home without some interchange. Some common things you may need to be prepared to give up your rights to your ex’s pension or other marital assets like land, cars, or savings accounts and other equities. With the support of a divorce attorney, review your family’s finances in order to have a well founded view of what an even exchange would be for full ownership of the home.
Is home co-ownership an option?
In a situation known as nesting, children stay in the family home and divorced parents take turns in the home with the child. This is especially effective for young children in order not to destabilize their routines, and for children who attend quality neighborhood schools. In some cases, one parent moves out of the home, but the couple continues to co-own the home so that their child can continue to attend school in the house’s school district.
Aside from the obvious benefit of providing a stable home for the children, there are financial benefits to co-ownership. First and foremost, there is no need to refinance the home. The financial upheaval of division of assets is, for this reason, somewhat tempered. However, one must take into clear account what it will mean to continue to be in a relationship with your ex in order to make a situation like nesting, or even co-ownership in the absence of one partner. A mature and communicative relationship is a necessity for any co-ownership agreement.
In the case that the couple decides to split their shared assets within the home, good communication and organization are key to ensuring that the property is distributed with discernment. Schedule a time to tour your home with your spouse to make a list of each shared item. One tactic is to record this list in a computer or technological advice so that you can add the items it is easy to split at the top. When the list is complete, this will allow for a conversation to easefully commence, separating items and appraising their value. Then move on to items that are more difficult to part with for each party. Don’t rush decision making. This could be a rolling process. The important thing is to approach joint decisions such as this one from a place of calm, collaboration, and objectivity.
Experienced Divorce Attorney Handling Amicable and Fair Separation
Peter J. Bronzino, our divorce attorney is experienced in supporting New Jersey couples across Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey in an amicable and fair separation.
Our unique approach focuses on ensuring that the financial and emotional needs of each partner in the split are met and that the family experiences as smooth a transition into their new lives as possible.