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Divorce and Selling the Marital Residence

A challenging aspect of some New Jersey divorce cases is the decision to sell the marital residence. If you are involved in a divorce and are in the midst of trying to decide what to do with the home you shared with your soon-to-be former spouse, there are a number of facts and factors to bear in mind, which are set forth for you in this article.

Equitable Division of Assets Standard

When considering the sale of the marital home, you need to understand the standard used by the court when it comes to dividing assets and debts in a New Jersey divorce. The law requires the court to use what is known as the equitable division of assets standard.

Pursuant to the equitable division of property standard, the assets and debts of a marriage must be divided or distributed between the parties in a just and equitable manner. Just and equitable does not necessarily mean equal. In division of assets and debts, the court considers the unique facts and circumstances of a particular case.

Preparing Marital Residence for Sale

Before movement can be made to put the residence on the market for sale, you need to ensure that the property is in an appropriately presentable condition. There may need to be some pre-sale repairs to be made on the home. This is an important part of the home sales process that a divorcing couple needs to agree on. As part of that agreement, consideration must be paid to the manner in which the expenses associated with preparing the home for sale are satisfied.

Hiring a Real Estate Agent

Hiring a real estate agent is a bit more complicated when this type of professional assistance is sought during a divorce. There are some agents with more familiarity in dealing with divorcing couples.

If you are like many people, you likely know real estate agents, as does your spouse. In order to avoid any conflict, or the appearance of any lopsided consideration of one spouse over another, the suggestion is that a real estate agent that is a friend or otherwise associated with you or with your spouse should not be utilized.

Setting the Sale Price

The parties need to specifically agree on a sale price for the marital home. The ideal course is for this agreement to be put in writing and filed with the court so that there is a clear record of the sale price set between the parties.

Accepting an Offer

Bear in mind that both spouses need to accept any offer made on the property. Parties to a divorce need to recognize that they cannot unreasonably withhold acceptance of the offer. If a spouse should unreasonably fail to accept a suitable offer on the home and the sale is lost, the other party may be able to seek sanctions against the spouse that causes the sale to collapse in court in some instances.

Home Sale Closing

Both spouses also need to participate in the home sale closing. This no longer means that both spouses need to appear in the same room together for the closing. There are alternatives to that type of arrangement, including virtual meeting technology.

Alternatives to Selling Marital Residence

There are alternatives to electing to sell the marital home. These include such strategies as:

  • Setting aside the marital home to one party of a divorce, with the other party receiving an offset in an additional share of other assets.
  • Buying out a spouse, whereby the person who desires to own the home pays to the other spouse money for that party’s interest in the residence.
  • Permitting the custodial parent to reside in the residence until the children become adults, then putting the house on the market to sell.

If you are in the process of preparing to end your marriage, a wise course of action to take is to schedule an initial consultation with a divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen You can schedule an initial appointment by calling us 201-845-7400.

During an initial consultation, you receive a case evaluation and an answer to any questions you may have. This includes any questions about the disposition of the marital residence. There is no charge for an initial consultation with a New Jersey divorce lawyer from your firm.

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