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Unwanted Property in a New Jersey Divorce

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2022 | Divorce

Property division is a major part of most divorces, and many divorce attorneys in New Jersey are used to spouses arguing over various assets. But what happens when no one wants a certain asset? What happens if both spouses would rather walk away without taking this “unwanted property?” What happens if property becomes abandoned and left behind by a spouse who does not seem to care anymore?

These are all important questions, and they are probably best left answered by a legal professional. Book a consultation with a divorce attorney in New Jersey, and you can gain a more complete understanding of how this situation might play out. With assistance from one of our legal professionals, you can learn how to deal with unwanted or abandoned property in divorce.

What Happens if No One Wants the Property?

There may be many reasons why neither spouse actually wants to take possession of a piece of property. The cost of maintaining that property might be quite high. For example, a piece of real estate can come with strata fees, property taxes, mechanical costs, and many others expenses. In addition, transferring a piece of property to your ownership might leave you with a significant tax bill.

If neither spouse wants to take possession of an asset, the obvious course of action is to sell the asset and split the proceeds. This is really the only choice because you can only “trade” assets if one spouse actually wants to take ownership.

What are “Abandoned Assets?”

In certain cases, property might be considered “abandoned.” This is usually the case when personal items such as jewelry and valuables are left behind in the marital home. If the spouse who owns these items never comes forward to claim them, the owner of the marital home is theoretically allowed to do whatever they want with them. In many cases, spouses might feel like the best thing to do is simply to throw these items away. This is usually the case when the marriage ended on bad terms, and a spouse wants to eradicate any memory of their former partner from their surroundings.

With all that said, you cannot simply throw items away without going through the proper legal steps first. First, you need to write a certified letter to your spouse that clearly details the exact items that have been left behind. You may also want to include pictures. This letter should also communicate a deadline (usually 30 days). If your spouse misses the deadline, you can do whatever you want with the items. Sell them, throw them away, donate them to charity – it is up to you. However, it is always a good idea to check with your lawyer before you take these actions.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you are going through a divorce and you are dealing with complex property division issues, it is important to work with a professional. Reach out to Giro LLP, Attorneys at Law, and you can go over all of your legal options. We can help you decide on the best course of action, and we will explain complex legal matters in a clear way. Book your consultation today and start working toward a positive legal outcome.