Will I lose my Monmouth or Ocean County home in my divorce?
Assisting Divorce clients with questions like these out of our offices conveniently located in Brick and Sea Girt New Jersey
One of the most common questions our Ocean County divorce clients ask of us is “Will I lose my house in the divorce?”. Sadly, there is no easy answer to this question. Homes are treated the same as other assets such as family owned businesses and real estate properties during a divorce, and in order to answer this question, you and your Ocean County divorce attorney will have to discuss several key factors.
Consider Prenuptial Agreements
The first and most important factor to consider in any divorce is whether or not a signed prenuptial agreement exists between the parties. Prenuptial agreements can cover a wide variety of divorce issues such as child custody, alimony, and marital asset division, but most commonly contain terms regarding assets such as homes, properties, and businesses.
Prenuptial agreements and their terms will supersede divorce law regarding what you and your spouse may be entitled to when dividing marital assets. If you have a prenuptial agreement, it is critical that you disclose this information to your Spring Lake divorce attorney, so that they can thoroughly review the agreement, and assess its impact on your divorce settlement agreement.
The Title of the Home and the Duration of the Marriage
If there is no pre-existing prenuptial agreement, or your prenuptial agreement does not contain terms regarding ownership of your home, then the next factor to consider is that of the title of the home, and the duration of the marriage. If the home is titled to both you and your spouse, then the home will almost certainly be considered marital property, and as such subject to equitable distribution laws.
If the home is titled solely in your name, and importantly was purchased prior to your marriage (a home purchased during your marriage regardless of title will be considered marital property), then you must then consider the duration of your marriage. For shorter marriages, it may be possible for your Point Pleasant divorce attorney to argue that your spouse did not make contributions to the home, and as such has no claim to the home as part of your divorce settlement agreement. However, the longer your marriage, the greater the chance that your spouse has made marital contributions which would cause the home to be considered marital property.
Marital Contributions Affect Property Division in Jackson Divorce Cases
As mentioned above, marital contributions can entitle your spouse to joint-ownership of properties that were solely owned by you prior to your marriage. Marital contributions can be anything from actual money invested in the upkeep or maintenance of the home, to personal sacrifices such as leaving a job to care for the home or children. The longer the duration of your marriage, the more your spouse will have contributed to the continued possession of assets like homes, properties, and businesses, and the greater the chance becomes that he or she will be entitled to joint ownership of these assets during the division of assets process.
Retaining Ownership during Division of Assets Process
All that being said, just because your spouse may be considered the joint owner of an asset or your home, does not mean that you have to lose possession of that asset during your divorce. An experienced Sea Girt, NJ division of asset attorney will be able to negotiate on your behalf for equitable distribution, meaning that you can maintain ownership of certain assets in exchange for assets of equitable value. It is important to understand that equitable does not have to mean “equal”, merely fair, and your attorney should be able to take advantage of this law and help you negotiate a favorable settlement.
Contact A Brick and Sea Girt Marital Asset Division Attorney Today
At Bronzino Law Firm, we have extensive experience helping clients across Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Point Pleasant, Toms River, and the greater Ocean County area with family law and divorce issues of all kinds, including prenuptial agreements, division of assets, and divorce settlements.
Attorney Peter J. Bronzino believes that by keeping his clients highly informed and involved in the legal process, they can better understand their options, and help to more effectively secure the exact settlement they need in any divorce or family law matter. The smaller size of our firm allows us to develop these attentive and personal relationships with our clients, while still charging fair and reasonable rates for our services.
To speak with our office today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your unique needs and concerns for your prenuptial agreement, divorce, or division of asset agreement, please contact us online, or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102.