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Marriage often means taking two separate lifestyles and making them into one. This may include combining bank accounts, opening joint lines of credit and purchasing a home together. Sadly, if the marriage ends in divorce, spouses who have commingled their assets may have a difficult time separating them. One of the most complex assets to divide during a divorce is often the family home.

Purchasing a home together is one of those marital milestones that many couples look forward to. However, because New Jersey is an equitable division state, assets a couple acquires during the marriage are typically considered marital property, even if only one spouse’s name is on the deed or the mortgage. If one spouse wants to sell the house and the other wants to continue living there, it may be difficult to resolve the dispute.

Generally, spouses have three choices when it comes to determining what to do with the marital home. The option that often provides the cleanest break is to sell the house and divide the proceeds. However, if one spouse wants to remain in the house, the partners have two options. One can buy out the other spouse’s share, or the parties can continue to share the financial responsibilities for the home. This last option is the least preferable solution and is often temporary, such as until the children reach a certain age.

No matter what a couple decides to do with the family home, it is important that they understand the divorce laws in New Jersey and how those laws pertain to their situation. Dealing with the marital home and other assets in a divorce often means obtaining appraisals and using that information to negotiate a fair settlement. A skilled and experienced attorney can be an invaluable resource to someone facing these and other concerns.