There are many people in New Jersey and across the country who are choosing to wait until later in life to get married. As such, some people are coming into a marriage with a house purchased by only one of the people. While a premarital asset is typically exempt from equitable distribution during a divorce, there are some circumstances in which a spouse may have a claim.
In some cases, one spouse may own the marital home. However, in certain situations a home may be considered a quasi-marital or marital asset. For example, if the home was purchased in anticipation of the marriage, the non-owning party may still have an equitable interest.
Additionally, a person who lives in a home for decades may put money and effort into the home's upkeep. If both people have jointly paid bills and put their time and abilities into improving the home, the nonpurchasing spouse could be entitled to a portion of the home's overall increase in value. The same applies if marital assets were used to improve the home.
It may be difficult for a person who has spent years investing in a property to walk away or for a homeowner to face the prospect that someone else may have an interest in the home he or she purchased. Regardless of whether a person in New Jersey is the homeowner or nonpurchasing spouse, it is helpful for those going through a divorce to consult with an experienced family law attorney. Often such a professional can provide insights to aspects of property division that can help a person going through the divorce protect their interests.