Last year, we published a post entitled He Who Hesitates (To Sell Former Marital Home) May Have Lost.  However, the Supreme Court disagreed in Sachau v. Sachau decided May 11, 2011.

In Sachau, the marital home was supposed to be sold on a triggering event, the emancipation of the youngest child, which in this case was in 1984.  The house wasn’t sold then but in 1990, the wife began making inconsistent payments at inconsistent intervals to the husband through 2004 totalling almost $80000.  When the husband became unable to support himself, he filed a motion to compel the sale of the house in 2006.

Without getting into the legal steps it took to get to a hearing, the trial judge ultimately concluded that there was no agreement between the parties in respect of the valuation date and that the 1984 value of the home was $120,000 and that was the valued to be used.  As such, the husband’s share was filed at  $144,915.62 (which included interest) and the wife’s share was $417,472.64. The judge further determined that the wife would be credited for payments made. Moreover, the judge noted that the equities were in parity and that “the passage of time ha[d] not caused a change in position to the
detriment of [Barbara].” The husband appealed, and as noted in our prior post, the Appellate Division affirmed.Continue Reading Supreme Court Says That Unless You Specifically Agree Otherwise, Date of Value for a House is the Date of Distribution

Recently, in the unreported decision of Pacifico v. Pacifico, the Appellate Division reversed a trial court’s ruling establishing that an ex-wife provided sufficient proof to overcome a presumption established by the New Jersey Supreme Court that “current market value as of the time of the triggering event” should govern the value to which the ex-wife could exercise her option to purchase her ex-husband’s one-half interest in the marital home. 

The parties executed a Property Settlement Agreement in December 1996, which was incorporated into the final judgment of divorce. The PSA provided that the marital residence was to be sold upon the youngest child reaching age 19 and that, at that time, the ex-wife had the first option (and then the ex-husband) to buy-out the former spouse’s interest in the home. If neither party wanted to exercise said option, it was to be sold. Once the youngest child turned 19, the ex-husband filed an application to compel the listing and sale of the property. The ex-wife then filed a cross-motion to buy out the ex-husband’s interest at the value determined by a broker’s market analysis in 1996 – long before the ex-wife application. Continue Reading Appellate Division Denies Ex-Wife’s Claim Regarding Buy-Out Value of Marital Home