How Important is a Real Estate Attorney to Your Divorce?

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real estate divorceAs 2018 almost comes to an end, you may be thinking towards the future. This is especially true if you are going through a divorce. That said, the dissolution of a marriage can be complicated in many regards. Among them, is the issue of equitable distribution. In fact, you may find that you need an experienced real estate attorney in addition to the lawyer who represents you in divorce court.

No doubt you already know that as far as tangible assets, real estate is often the most valuable. First, there is the obvious. Without question, your family home will carry the most emotional attachment. However, some couples also make investments in real property. These may also be subject to the laws concerning equitable distribution.

Like choosing your medical provider, you have a few options when it comes to selecting legal representation. In some cases, you might feel comfortable retaining a lawyer with a general practice.  By the same token, you could decide that you need a divorce attorney whose practice is limited to family law issues, such as custody, support, and equitable distribution. In such instances, retaining separate real estate counsel makes sense.

Real Estate and Divorce

The first consideration when it comes to real estate and divorce is generally the marital residence. More than likely, your family law attorney will work with your spouse’s lawyer to find a solution that works for both of you.  In best case scenarios, the outcome will become part of a Marital Separation Agreement (MSA).

A recent New Jersey Appellate Court unpublished legal opinion provides some insight into the language used to divide real property in divorce matters. In the case of KDE v. JE, NJ: Appellate Div. 2018, one of the key issues involved sale of the marital home.

Among other things, the MSA called for the parties to do the following:

The home shall be listed for sale with [a specific real estate agent] at a listing price of $530,000[]. Both parties shall fully cooperate with the listing of the home and take all necessary steps to effectuate a timely sale of the residence. Upon the sale of the home, the net proceeds realized shall be equally divided between the parties after the payment of (certain items).

Based on the assumption that the court needs to approve marital separation agreements, your real estate attorney will work to ensure you are in compliance with the agreement. In the preceding case, the house sold for $470,000 and the parties debated on the division of the proceeds.

Home Sale as Part of a Divorce

The timing of your home sale may come with a timetable. For example, some couples elect to hold onto the marital residence until the youngest child becomes of legal age. Of course, it will be necessary to make arrangements concerning mortgage payments when applicable.

It could be that moving on with life means ridding yourself of past memories. When it comes to the sale of the home where you lived together, you may find it easier than you’d imagine. That’s not to say that it won’t be difficult to approve an asking price and to agree to accept offers. However, the incentive may be that the proceeds allow you both the means to afford the next chapter in your lives.

Meanwhile, you may need legal help if you or your soon to be ex decide to take on full ownership of the home.  More than likely, a buyout will mean obtaining new financing and should also include title searches to verify the property has no encumbrances. An experienced real estate lawyer will assist with the closing documents, including the new deed in one name and procurement of title insurance.

Contact Us

Going through a divorce and have real estate questions? Contact the Law Offices of Lawrence M. Centanni to see how we can help. We look forward to helping you during this challenging time of your life.

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