Robert G. Smith, PLLC

Divorce and the complexity of a residence in New York

Divorce alters much in your life. Things you believe to be constant and unchanging, like the love and commitment of your spouse, evaporate over night. Suddenly, you are forced to deal with a long list of these changes. Everything from your income and how you pay your mortgage or rent to when you will spend time with your children will be affected.

Child custody issues can be very emotional and, at the same time, have a significant financial component, as where your child or children spend their time will affect how much you pay or receive in child support. 

Your residence, if a home with a joint mortgage, could change. If you want to remain in your home, you will need to buy out your spouse. Depending on your current assets, gathering together sufficient financial resources to cover that cost and maintaining the future expenses of ownership may be difficult. You need to examine if it make financial sense as part of your overall future plans.

In New York City, this can become even more complex if your residence is in a co-op. Not only do you need to deal with your spouse's attorneys, but also you may find yourself dealing with the co-op board's attorneys, as they seek assurance that after the divorce, you have the necessary financial resources to cover the maintenance for the property.

If ownership has been transferred, the board or management entity should have copies of the divorce decree and supporting documents like affidavits attesting to the transfer.

There may also be issues of access to the building. The best way to minimize any potential questions or conflict is to have all potential issues worked out through your divorce agreement and provide the board with all the necessary documents clearly outlining access.

Source: The New York Times, "Divorce and the Board," Ronda Kaysen, August 2, 2014

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Robert G. Smith, PLLC
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