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NY Divorce: How To Buy Out Spouse’s Property

by | Jul 18, 2023 | Divorce Long Island, NY

One of the most significant issues in a divorce is that of property division. And because couples often accumulate more assets the longer their marriage lasts, this is particularly the case when spouses divorce after 20, 30, or even 40 years together.

A popular resolution to the issue of allocating possessions is for one spouse to buy out the other’s shares in their co-owned property. Many people choose to do this when one spouse wants to keep an asset and would rather not sell it to split the proceeds. Here’s what to know and how an experienced Long Island, NY divorce attorney can help.

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Offer Your Spouse a Direct Payment

If you have the means to offer your spouse a lump sum payment for their portion of an asset, like a house or car, this is probably the easiest way to settle the matter.

You can also take out a loan for the amount, so you can purchase your spouse’s half of the property outright and pay back your lender over time. This allows you to sever ties completely with your spouse at the time of your divorce, even if you can’t come up with all of the money you would need to make the purchase.

Offer Your Spouse Something in Exchange

Another way to buy your spouse’s share of an asset is to offer them something of equal value in return. This equitable exchange is common in New York divorces, but it does require you to have the ability to communicate with your spouse to iron out the details of the trade.

For example, if you really want the house in your divorce, but your spouse would rather have your vehicles and boat, you could call it an even exchange so long as you both agree to it. Keep in mind that the trade has to be fair on both sides – courts give some leeway to items with great personal significance, but what you offer your spouse can’t be grossly under the value of what you want in return.

Refinance Your Mortgage

If the property you want is a home, you may be able to refinance your mortgage under your name only to purchase your ex’s shares. Whether or not you can do this depends on several factors though, like how much equity you personally have in the property and what your credit score looks like. If you haven’t built enough equity or can’t get approved for a loan, this is unlikely to be a good option for you.

But if you do have good credit and income, and you can get refinanced, you can pay your spouse for their half of the house and own the property yourself. The mortgage will be yours after that and you’ll only have to deal with your lender going forward.

Create a Buyout Agreement

If you don’t have the money to make a direct offer for your spouse’s shares in the property, and if refinancing through a traditional lender isn’t an option, you may be able to create a buyout agreement where you make payments to your spouse over time until you’ve purchased all of their holdings. Usually, this requires you to be on reasonably good terms, since communication and trust are key to making an arrangement like this work.

When To Get in Touch with a Qualified NY Divorce Lawyer

If you are considering a divorce or your spouse has announced to you their intent to divorce, you should consult with an experienced divorce and family law attorney right away. The outcome of your case, including what property you get and whether or not you have custody and visitation of your kids, often depends on how quickly you act and how skilled your legal representation is.

In most situations, the more experienced your attorney, the better your case results are, so it’s important that you work with someone who has what it takes. At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., we have the experience and dedication to help you navigate the difficult issues of dividing property during a divorce and will advocate for realistic solutions for you and your family.

Serving all of Long Island, New York and surrounding areas.Contact us today for a consultation by dialing 631-923-1910 or fill in the short form on this page.

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About the Author

Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., Founding Partner, Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.

  • Over 20 years practicing matrimonial law
  • Over 1,000 cases successfully resolved
  • Founder and Partner of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.
  • Experienced and compassionate Long Island Divorce Attorney, Family Law Attorney, and Divorce Mediator
  • Licensed to practice law in the State of New York
  • New York State Bar Association member
  • Nassau County Bar Association member
  • Suffolk County Bar Association member
  • “Super Lawyer” Metro Rising Star
  • Nominated Best of Long Island Divorce Attorney four consecutive years
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Contributor
  • Collaborative Law Association of New York – Former Director
  • Martindale Hubbell Distinguished Designation
  • America’s Most Honored Professionals – Top 5%
  • Lead Counsel Rated – Divorce Law
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • Graduate of Hofstra University School of Law
  • Double Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy, Politics & Law and History from SUNY Binghamton University
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Melissa Rappa
Melissa Rappa
18:09 08 Feb 24
At one of the hardest and most stressful times of my life, it was so comforting to have a team at Hornberger and Verbitsky who ALWAYS responded in record speed to my questions, phone calls, emails or texts and who I felt really cared about helping me through this difficult time. It was a long few years and I am grateful to all of you. Thank you so much Rob, AnneMarie, Christine, Patty, Joan and Lawrence. Your guidance, professionalism and expertise is appreciated beyond measure.
Paul Carmichael
Paul Carmichael
16:21 11 Dec 23
I would give 6 stars if I could. I can't say enough good things about Robert and his firm. We were in a situation for over 2 years and I could have never made it through without Robert's experience and knowledge. He guided me through tough times when needed and his expertise could "read" the situation and make the next best move for me. He was tough when he needed to be tough (thankfully) and at the same time guided me through the process to make me feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. I would not want to go through this process without Robert and his team having my back. he helped move the case along and not waste any time or money. One last time, I 100% endorse Robert and his expertise.

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