Many of our Union County divorce clients come to us concerned over losing their home in the divorce settlement agreement. Understandably, individuals who owned a home or property prior to their marriage wish to retain possession of those properties after their divorce. However, there is no easy or definitive answer to the question “Will I lose my home in the divorce”. The answer to this question depends on several very important factors, which we will discuss below.
Before continuing however, it is important to note that even if the home or property in question is to be considered part of the marital assets (and thus subject to equitable distribution), your Linden divorce attorney can still negotiate your divorce settlement to include ownership of the home, however you will have to give assets of equitable value in exchange.
Union County Prenuptial Agreements and Divorce Settlements
The first question your Union County divorce attorney will ask is whether or not there is an existing prenuptial agreement in place. Prenuptial agreements can cover a wide variety of common divorce issues such as property division, alimony, and child custody in the event of a divorce. If you do have a prenuptial agreement, your divorce attorney will wish to thoroughly review it, as prenuptial agreements can often contain terms for things such as home ownership or property ownership, and the terms your Union County prenuptial agreement includes will almost always be binding and final.
Whose Name is on the Title of the Home?
If you do not have a prenuptial agreement, or your prenuptial agreement does not specify how home ownership will be handled in divorce, the next factor to consider is that of the name(s) on the title of the home. If the title includes your spouse’s name, the home will be considered joint property, and subject to equitable distribution.
If however, the home is titled solely in your name, you then need to consider the duration of the marriage. For shorter marriages, it is possible that your spouse may not have made contributions to the home, and as such it would still be considered separate property. In the case of a longer marriage however, your spouse will most likely have a strong argument for marital contributions, and as such cause the home to be considered marital property.
Marital Contributions and Union County Asset Division
Marital contributions is the concept that, through a variety of efforts, married partners make contributions to a variety of assets over the course of their marriage, and these contributions entitle them to joint ownership of these assets. In the case of a home, contributions such as leaving a job in order to maintain the home, money spent on upkeep or renovations, and other personal sacrifices would all allow your spouse to claim the home as a marital asset, and not a separate asset, even if their name isn’t on the title of the home.
The longer your marriage lasted, the more likely it is that your spouse has made contributions which would allow them to claim the home as marital property, and part of your division of asset agreement.
Contact a Union County Asset Division Attorney Today
At The Law Office of Edward S. Cooper, we have extensive experience helping clients across Scotch Plains, Clark, Union, Rahway, and the greater Union County area with all manner of divorce-related issues, including marital asset division.
If you are concerned about the ownership of your home or a property in your divorce settlement agreement, we are prepared to meet with you in a free and confidential consultation, review your case, and discuss your options honestly and openly with you. We will look closely at any existing prenuptial agreement and marital contributions made by your spouse, and determine whether or not the home or property in question may be subject to equitable distribution. If it is, we can help you to negotiate for a favorable but equitable settlement which allows you to retain ownership of your home and properties.