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Can a custodial parent keep the family home in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2022 | Child Custody, Divorce

Child custody is a common topic for disagreement in a New Jersey divorce. While this is of critical importance to many parents, the issues surrounding it often go beyond which parent will be the primary custodian and live with the child the bulk of the time. Under some circumstances, it can extend into property division.

Even if the parents have joint legal custody, the parent who will live with the child might want to retain the family home to limit the amount of disruption in the child’s life. Since real estate can be valuable and may be costly to maintain, it is key to understanding how this type of dispute can be handled.

What happens with the marital home during property division if children are involved?

New Jersey uses the equitable distribution model when dividing property in a divorce. That does not mean equal, but it does mean an attempt at fairness. The court will analyze each situation on its own merits and consider various factors like how long the couple was married, their health, their income, what they brought into the marriage, economics, earning capacity, education and if one party paid to help the other through school or to build a business. There are also many other considerations.

When there is a marital home and the parent with physical custody wants to keep it while raising the child, the court will weigh this request and make its determination. The property could have a substantial mortgage and deem it unfair to ask the non-custodial parent to go beyond the support guidelines to pay it. Taxes and the property value are paramount when the court assesses this request.

Since the needs of the child come to the forefront, the court might decide that the request is reasonable. There could be a trade-off of other property to counteract the custodial parent taking over the marital home.

For property division and child custody, consulting with professionals is useful

The financial and emotional ramifications from a dispute that combines child custody and property division can be enormous. This is an example of an area of family law that covers several bases.

The non-custodial parent might be thinking about their desire for custody while simultaneously expressing concern about the property split, especially with something as potentially valuable as a marital home. For these issues, it is imperative to consult with professionals who are well versed in all areas of family law to try and craft a reasonable solution or address the case in court.