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Rockland & Westchester County Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > Selling the Family Home Decades After the Divorce

Selling the Family Home Decades After the Divorce


Stress and trauma can affect our decision making, especially during major life events, such as divorce, and in these states, people can become vulnerable to being taken advantage of. This makes working with the right family attorney to look out for your interests while you are going through divorce all the more critical. You never, ever, want to rush a divorce without obtaining good legal advice, as this could lead to potentially erroneously valuing and characterizing marital assets. Being so eager to get out of a marriage – and walking away from assets to which you are entitled to to hurry things up – is one of those decisions that can haunt you later on.

As Rockland County divorce attorneys who regularly advise clients on issues involving distribution of assets, the family home – and what is done by the spouse who remains in the family home – is frequently the source of a number of questions we receive. This issue can become especially confusing – and a source of contention – if one spouse is left off the home loan, deed, or both, at the time of purchase.

New York Law, the Deed, Prenups, & Your Rights

New York follows equitable distribution laws, whereby assets are divided fairly and equitably (this does not necessarily mean a 50-50 split, as occurs in a community property state).  Technically, when a couple purchases a home during their marriage, and places both names on the deed, that home is not only an asset that is subject to equitable distribution, but by having both names on the deed, the spouse who remains in the home – even if they continue to cover the mortgage on their own – cannot legally sell the home without permission from the other individual, even long after the divorce, unless that other name was removed from the deed.

In addition, even if, for some reason, only one spouse’s name ended up on the deed, but both names were on the loan, both spouses still own the home upon divorce because that home was purchased during the marriage. Anything purchased during the marriage, including the home, is regarded as marital property unless there was a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement which relinquished any one individual’s rights to the home, listing it as separate property not subject to division upon divorce, etc.

Failing to Consult An Attorney Could be the Biggest Mistake You Make

There are far too many couples who want to get their divorce finalized and done with so that they can move on because it is such a difficult time for them. As a result, some couples even decide to avoid consulting attorneys because they assume that’s just for divorces that become “contentious.”

This could be further from the truth: It saves so many headaches – not to mention misdealings with co-owned assets – later on to simply work with an attorney from the outset to divide all of your assets during your divorce so that, decades later, you aren’t dealing with one spouse trying to sell a home and keep all of the profits when that home (and its value) technically belongs to two people.

Work with the Best in New York Divorce Law

At the Law Office of Robert S, Sunshine, P.C., we are prepared to help you regardless of what stage you are at with your divorce, marital assets issue, or any other family law issue. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation and find out more.




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