When a couple gets divorced, both spouses may be concerned about what will happen to their most treasured possessions. For many couples, the family home is the most important asset they have due to its financial and sentimental value. Divorcing couples may decide to sell the house and split the proceeds, or one spouse may decide to buy out the other. First, however, the court must determine whether the house is subject to property division in the divorce.
Marital property is subject to property division in New Jersey
In New Jersey and other “equitable distribution” states, only marital property may be subject to property division in the divorce. Marital property is typically property that has been acquired during the marriage or owned by both spouses, while separate property is property acquired before the marriage or owned by only one spouse.
A house is likely to be considered marital property if:
- The house was purchased with marital funds and/or during the marriage.
- You and your spouse purchased the house together before you were married.
- Both you and your spouse’s names are on deed.
- Both you and your spouse contributed to the home’s value.
However, a house may be considered separate property if:
- The property was purchased by one spouse prior to marriage.
- The property was gifted to one spouse by a third party.
- One spouse inherited the property.
What you need to remember during divorce in New Jersey
Keep in mind that a house that was once separate property can become marital property if it was commingled with other marital property. For example, if Spouse B inherited his grandmother’s house, but Spouse A contributed to it by making mortgage payments or providing household services, the court may consider the home as marital property.
If you have questions about whether your house or any other asset will be subject to property division in your divorce, consider speaking to a family law attorney.