Q: I bought a home in NJ and titled it in my daughters name. Now she is getting divorced what is my exposure?
I have a contract for deed on the house. There is a mortgage on the house in her name only.
I would get a writing as quickly as possible from your daughter and her husband acknowledging that the real owner of the property is you and that title to the house was put in your daughter's name for convenience purposes for you.
The 2nd question ( which is also tied to the 1st question) has to do with the mortgage on the home and whether your daughter and her husband have been making payments on it and if so, why are they making the payments, if it is your house? if they are making payments on the mortgage or paying for any expenses on the house, then you need to sit down with them to discuss what their ownership interest is in the house and what your interest is and then have a writing signed by all of you as to your agreement and then I would make sure that your daughter's lawyer and your son in law's lawyer have a copy of that agreement and that both acknowledge your respective ownership interests in the property. If there is any push back from your daughter or your son in law as to each party's ownership interest in the property, then you will need to meet with a lawyer to discuss whether you will need to intervene in their divorce matter to assert an ownership interest in the property.
Peter J. Weinman agrees with this answer
A: Before you do anything, you need to retain counsel and then have the house conveyed back to you. More facts are necessary to determine the exact amount of your exposure. With modern technology, you can be represented by any high-quality attorney in New Jersey irrespective of geography. Pick the best attorney you can find and remember one rule: a good attorney is generally never cheap, and a cheap attorney is generally never good so don't choose based on price.
A: Attorneys Diamond and Boyer have offered great suggestions, but if I were you, I would not *DO* anything until you've retained a local attorney who will look at everything and guide you accordingly. I fear that if she were to transfer the home to you, that might trigger the due-on-sale clause. (A transfer from you to your child would be exempt, but a transfer from child to parent probably not). And, if you ask them to waive "potential" rights in the property by signing something, you might anger them and cause them not to cooperate. A skilled attorney may be able to package/present the situation differently and in a light that may be more palatable to the (soon-to-be-ex) husband. But you won't know until you consult with an attorney in person. If you don't already have a local attorney in mind, start your search here: https://www.justia.com/lawyers
A: Thank you for your question. There are many factors that the Court looks at in a divorce proceeding and how to divide the assets that were acquired during the marriage. Your daughter’s spouse can claim that the home is subject to equitable distribution and that it should be incorporated in the overall divorce proceeding. In order to protect your interests in the home, more information is required regarding the specific’s of the purchase, the reasons for it being placed in your daughter's name, and the circumstances around the acquisition of the property. I would suggest a consult with a lawyer to discuss this further, provide more insight as to how to address this issue and protect your claim to the asset.
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