Can the family home be sold while divorce is pending?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2023 | Family Law |

When New Jersey couples divorce, they might agree (or be ordered by the court) to sell their family home and divide the profits from the sale.

It can be advantageous to sell the home if neither spouse can afford the mortgage, taxes and upkeep costs on their own following a divorce. Other times, neither spouse wants to keep a house that holds unhappy memories. They want a fresh start.

Still, it is important to keep the timing of the sale in mind, as there may be restrictions on who can sell the family home and when.

Selling a house in a divorce

If the spouses decide to sell their house (or are ordered to sell by the court), the profits from the sale will be divided between them. This division might be 50-50, but it might not.

New Jersey law follows the concept of “equitable distribution” when dividing marital assets in a divorce. Thus, one spouse might receive a greater share of the profits from the sale of the marital home, if such a result would be fair.

The timing of the sale

The timing of any home sale is important, as it could impact the final sales price of the home and determine when the sellers have the cash from the sale in hand.

One or both spouses might want to sell the family home before their divorce is finalized, especially if neither wants to be burdened with the expenses related to home ownership.

It can also be less of a logistical hassle to simply deal with cash from the sale when dividing assets in a divorce, rather than having to value and divide the physical home, and then go through the process of selling it together once divorced.

Moreover, some spouses cannot effectively cooperate post-divorce to sell a home, and simply want a clean break.

Still, there might be some limits to selling a marital home before the divorce is finalized. Divorcing spouses in New Jersey can move the court for temporary orders. Such orders can prevent a spouse from selling marital assets, including the family home, while the divorce is pending.

Plan the timing of your home sale carefully if you are in the divorce process. You might want to sell before the divorce is finalized, but make sure you are permitted to do so and that doing so is in your best interests.