Dividing Real Property In New Jersey Divorces
Real property – the commonly-used legal term to describe land and the buildings and other fixtures on it – does not lend itself to easy division like money or investments. One cannot simply, generally speaking, draw lines on a survey, make two equal parts, and call it a day. One side of a tract of […]
Real property – the commonly-used legal term to describe land and the buildings and other fixtures on it – does not lend itself to easy division like money or investments. One cannot simply, generally speaking, draw lines on a survey, make two equal parts, and call it a day. One side of a tract of land may be more valuable than the other because of water or other rights. When there is a house on the property and the owners are seeking divorce, things are even more challenging, because you certainly can’t split the house itself down the middle. So how are these matters addressed?
Equitable Distribution in Cherry Hill, NJ
New Jersey law provides the basis for the division of real property in the divorce setting. The presumption under New Jersey law is that marital property – that is property the purchase and development of which occurred during the marriage using marital funds – is to be equally divided between the parties upon divorce. However, one of the most challenging questions involves what, exactly, constitutes marital property.
Defining Marital Property
In New Jersey, marital property is defined as all property, real and personal, that is legally and beneficially acquired by either spouse during the term of the marriage. This means that the spouses do not have to decide together to purchase the property; rather, it only matters that the property was obtained during the marriage by one of them.
However, certain types of property obtained during marriage are excluded under the marital property definition, including gifts from one spouse to the other, or property acquired by inheritance, as well as any property owned by either spouse prior to the marriage.
What About Improvements to Separate Property?
One of the most challenging aspects of dividing real property in New Jersey during divorce is accounting for any improvements made by one spouse to the real property of the other, or improvements made by a spouse using marital funds on property he or she brought to the marriage. Say one spouse owned a rental property prior to marriage. Following marriage, the couple invested $50,000 in the rental property to increase its rental amounts and rates. The real property would certainly be separate property, but what about the increase in value created by the $50,000 investment? Under New Jersey law, that increase in value attributable to the investment of marital property would be considered marital property subject to equitable distribution.
Mediation Can Help Resolve Thorny Real Property Issues
Many times, real property division issues must be resolved either by selling the property in question and dividing the proceeds accordingly, or by one spouse compensating the other in exchange for a release of his or her interest in the property. However, these workable solutions will most often arise in the negotiation phase or through mediation. Very often, courts will not try and resolve issues in this manner, choosing instead to require sale of the property and division of the funds. A skilled Camden family law attorney will be able to help you navigate these situations and reach a reasonable resolution.
Contact a Voorhees Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Division of Real Property in New Jersey Today
If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of property, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Davis & Mendelson, L.L.C. represent clients throughout the state, including Camden, Cherry Hill, Lindenwold, and Haddonfield. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Contact us at (866) 560-9512 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 1200 Laurel Oak Road, Suite 101, Voorhees, NJ 08043.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.