Is The Home Always Marital Property?
In New Jersey, if the home was purchased during the marriage, then it is marital property. However, if one spouse owned the home before the marriage, then it is no longer considered marital property and is instead listed as a separate property owned by one spouse.
However, in New Jersey, if one spouse owns the home prior to the marriage and during the marriage has the title of the home transferred so that both husband and wife are listed on the title, that is a different story. If you transfer the title, either in full or turn it into a joint title between you and your spouse, you are essentially giving a gift. Gifts are considered marital assets and therefore, the home is now falling under the guidelines for equitable distribution.
Check Your Mortgage Carefully!
In some situations, the wife receives the marital home as part of a divorce settlement, especially if she is also given custody of the children. It is imperative for the husband to realize that even if he turns over his share of the home to his ex-wife, he is not removed from the mortgage on that home.
The husband is not automatically removed from the mortgage documents as it is a separate legal document from the house deed. Therefore, although the deed is now transferred to the wife's name, the mortgage is still under the name of both parties. As you might imagine, this can cause a great deal of conflict and confusion.
Mortgage companies will on occasion permit one spouse to be taken off the mortgage, but the process is complicated, lengthy and needs to be overseen by a lawyer. The process is done via an application known as an assumption agreement. This eventually ensures that the vacating spouse has no more financial responsibility in terms of the mortgage.
Contact Villani & DeLuca, P.C.
New Jersey divorce and family law can be difficult to navigate. If you are a resident of Ocean or Monmouth Counties, Villani & DeLuca, P.C. are here to provide you with support as you undergo what is certain to be a difficult and life changing process. If you have questions about your marital home call us to discuss your options.