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Ownership of marital home up to courts in divorce

Unfortunately, often couples who are in the process of obtaining a divorce may acquire some mistaken ideas about how things work in the courts by reading the gossip filled tabloid press. Such supermarket checkout line publications are frequently filled with a myriad of lurid tales of questionable providence, including stories about celebrity divorces in progress.

Recently, some such publications have regaled the reading public with stories about the divorce currently in progress between Bethenny Frankel and Jason Hoppy, both celebrities as a result of reality TV. Apparently, despite having initiated a divorce proceeding earlier in the year, they are both currently still living under the same roof at a loft apartment they own. The loft is estimated to have a value of approximately $5 million. At least one article suggested they were putting up with that arrangement because whoever moved out first would somehow automatically lose any and all claims to ownership of the residence.

Experienced divorce attorneys examining the case say that was simply not true. If a residence is a marital asset, it will be taken into account during the division of assets. A wide variety of factors may go into deciding how a couple's property is to be divided. Courts may consider the equities of the situation rather than just mechanically awarding ownership to one spouse because they just remained in the house or apartment longer after the couple broke up.

When a residence is acquired with the couple's funds during the marriage, a court will consider it to be marital property, which is subject to division regardless of who was actually living there at the time the case was settled.

When considering a divorce, consult with an experienced divorce attorney to find answers about property division, child custody, child support and spousal support. An attorney can help protect your rights and interests during the divorce and help you during this difficult time.

Source:  Forbes, "Should You Move Out Of The Marital Home? Learn From Divorce Attorneys, Not The Tabloids" Jeff Landers, Jun. 11, 2013

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