Representing Buyers and Sellers

When selling or purchasing property in New York and New Jersey, real estate transactions can become very complicated. A real estate attorney helps buyers and sellers navigate all states of a real estate transaction, guiding them through contract negotiation, lien and title searches, inspections, and closings. For many individuals and families, purchasing a house will be the most substantial financial decision of their lives. The Law Firm and Mediation Practice of Alla Roytberg, P.C. brings over 25 years of experience to individuals and businesses throughout New York City and the surrounding communities, handling all matters related to the purchase of your house.

Our Real Estate Practice

  • Building and negotiation of Contract terms
  • Review of bank commitments
  • Preparation of closing documents
  • Representation at closings

Housing Issues for Divorcing Couples

When people own a house, their proof of ownership is a deed, and very often in a marriage, the deed states that the house is owned by both husband and the wife together. In New York State, this ownership is called “tenants by the entirety” and it means that if something happens to one of the spouses the house ownership automatically passes to the surviving spouse.

Sometimes, if parties divorce and still want to retain the house jointly in the future, they would switch their ownership from being “tenants by the entirety” to becoming “tenants in common.” A tenancy in common is a basic type of ownership by partners, where if one of the partners passes away, his or her interest gets transferred to his/her individual heirs rather than to the remaining owner. If owners are not married to each other but want the ownership of the house to pass to surviving owners, they would ordinarily state on the deed that their ownership is as “joint tenants with right of survivorship.”

In a separation or divorce, spouses have to explore various options. One of them may have moved out of the home while the other is still occupying it:

  • Who pays expenses, while they are trying to address and resolve what to do with the house – the mortgage, real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance, utilities and repair costs?

  • Do they intend to continue their joint ownership for a number of years?

  • Does the spouse who occupies the house have the resources to buy out the other’s interest or is there a way to trade it against other marital assets?

  • Does the house need to be sold? If so, how quickly?

There are ways to address all of these issues but both the parties and the lawyers have to be very creative in doing so. For example, the parties may agree that one of them will advance the money towards repairs or legalization of improvements and be reimbursed from net proceeds. Or, at the very least, they can agree that disputed money will be held in their real estate lawyer’s escrow account after closing. This way, the sale will proceed.

If parties and their attorneys are open enough to explore options, they can always find one that will work and result in a viable outcome for both sides. At the Law Firm and Mediation Practice of Alla Roytberg, P.C., we combine our comprehensive knowledge of real estate law and family law to assist families through this process.

For a consultation, contact us. Our offices are open Monday through Friday, from 9 am until 6 pm; Sundays and evenings by appointment. We accept Visa,  MasterCard and payments by PayPal.