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Can You Afford to Keep the Marital Residence?

In a good number of New Jersey marriage dissolution proceedings, the marital residence becomes a point of complication. Challenges associated with the marital home have the potential to manifest themselves in different ways:

  • Divergent opinions between the parties regarding how the marital residence should be dealt with during a divorce case
  • Issues surrounding a stable home environment for children and the debate over the family home
  • Whether or not a party to a divorce can afford to keep the marital home

There are a variety of considerations that you must bear in mind when you are trying to ascertain whether or not you’ve the financial wherewithal to afford to keep and maintain the family home after a divorce. These include:

  • State and future of your own income
  • Reliability of your spouse in making any payments to you that might have been in a divorce decree
  • Value of the marital property
  • Amount of mortgage payment
  • Amount of real estate taxes
  • Balance due on home mortgage
  • Condition of residence
State and Future of Your Own Income

When considering whether or not you can afford to keep the marital home, you need to candidly consider the current state of your own income. You need to honestly assess what the state of your earnings are most likely to be in the more immediate and the more distant future. For example, if a good deal of time is left on the home mortgage and retirement is somewhat on the horizon for you, that reality needs to be taken into the calculation as you consider whether or not you should elect to take possession of the family home in a divorce settlement.

Reliability of Spouse

As you go through your divorce case, at least a preliminary determination might have been reached regarding money that might be paid to you from your spouse. For example, alimony may be agreed or ordered in your case. If that is something to be considered as part of your own calculation regarding taking ownership of the marital home, you need to make an honest assessment regarding how reliable your spouse is likely to be in regard to future payments to you.

Value of Property

Another of the issues you need to consider when considering whether or not you have the ability to afford keeping the marital residence is the value of the property. In the grand scheme of things, the residence is apt to become your largest, most significant investment. Therefore, you do want to ensure that it is of a value that is both appropriate in today’s market but also a property that is apt to increase in worth over time.

Amount of Mortgage Payment

You need to take a close look at the amount of the monthly mortgage payment in relation to your overall budget. You cannot – cannot – take a cavalier attitude of “I can do it!” without doing a serious examination of how the mortgage expense works into your overall budget each month. (As part of this particular consideration, you may want to see whether refinancing is an option that can result in more favorable monthly payments for you.)

Amount of Real Estate Taxes

On a related note, you also need to consider how the amount of real estate taxes figures into your overall financial calculation associated with whether or not you should take possession and full ownership of the marital home in a divorce case. Due diligence also suggests that you do some research regarding property tax trends in your community to ascertain what you might be looking forward to in this regard in the future.

Balance Due on Home Mortgage Loan

As part of the overall calculation of whether or not you can afford the marital residence, the amount of time left on the mortgage is another key factor to take into consideration. For example, a mortgage with a smaller amount of time left to completion may be more favorable for you than one that has years left.

Overall Condition of Residence

If you are in need of experienced legal representation in your case, you can schedule an initial consultation with a New Jersey divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen by calling 201-845-7400. There is no cost associated with an initial consultation with a divorce lawyer from your firm.

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*Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances