The Rhode Island Family Court only has jurisdiction to defer the sale of a marital domicile in a divorce if there are minor children residing in the former marital domicile. Of course, parties can always agree to defer the sale of a parcel of real estate irrespective of whether they have children under the age of 18 years of age.
If Husband or Wife who has physical custody of a minor child of the parties requests a deferred sale of the home, then the Providence Family Court must determine whether it is economically feasible for the person who is living in the home to pay the mortgage, liens, taxes and insurance on the home until the home is sold. In examining the relevant facts and circumstances of the case, the Rhode Island Family Court will examine the income of the resident spouse, any alimony that litigant will receive and child support payments. Pursuant to R.I.G.L. 15-5-16 the rationale for this legal statute is to prevent foreclosures, uninsured property, and deterioration of the former marital domicile and to protect the parents’ equity interest in the real property.
Best interest of child
Once the Court makes a legal finding that it is “economically feasible” for the custodial parent to remain in the marital domicile, then the Providence Family Court Justice or General Magistrate will look into whether it is in the best interests of the minor child or children to remain living in the real estate. The Justice of the RI family Court will utilize his or her discretion in making such decision.
In many divorces when there are one or more children and the parent with placement of the children can afford the former marital home, the Providence Family Court will exercise its discretion and allow the children to remain in the house for a period of time, which may be until the youngest turns 18 years old and graduates from high school.
If the Kent County Family Court Justice defers the sale of the former marital home, the Kent County Family court will establish the amount of equity in the house at the time of the marital dissolution. The Providence divorce Court will determine the equitable share of the non-custodial spouse exiting the former marital domicile. If the litigants are unable to settle on an agreed amount as the fair market value (FMV) of the property, then feuding spouses will need to retain real estate appraisers. The Providence Family Court will hold a testimonial hearing and the justice will hear testimony from the dueling real estate appraisers. The Judge of the Family Court in RI will make findings concerning the fair market value of the real property. In certain cases, testimony is unnecessary because the husband and wife agree to use the same real estate appraiser.
Deferred sale of marital domicile (home)
After the period of deferment, the former marital home must be sold at fair market value and the noncustodial parent would get his or her share of the equity. If the RI Family Court orders a deferred sale of the marital real estate in the best interest of the parties’ minor children, it can be modified or terminated at the discretion of the court if there is a substantial change in circumstances. If the party living in the house with the children remarries or there is a substantial change of circumstances in the economic status of the person living in the house, then the property may be ordered sold.
In many cases when the custodial parent can afford an increased mortgage payment, the parties will settle with the custodial parent refinancing and buying out the noncustodial parent’s equitable share of the equity in the house. At that refinance the non-custodial parent receives cash and typically deeds over his/her interest in the house to the custodial parent.
For more information about RI Family law visit this website