After getting home in a divorce, is a realty transfer fee due?


Q. My son just recently was granted a divorce. He intends to buy out his ex-wife’s equity in the marital home. He would just like to remove her name from the mortgage through assumption. Will the assumption of the mortgage be subject to a realty transfer fee in Morris County, New Jersey?
— Mom

A. We’re glad you’re asking.

Let’s start with the fees.

Real estate transfers between married spouses or as part of a divorce are usually not subject to a real estate transfer fee, said Rebecca Frino, a family law attorney with Mandelbaum Barrett in Roseland.

However, she said, the new deed must be recorded by your son within 90 days of the date the judgment of divorce was issued.

“If he records the new deed beyond that window, he will be subject to a fee,” she said. “It’s always best to file the new deed as quickly as possible to avoid running up against this deadline.”

Frino said the Morris County Clerk’s webpage provides a checklist of what is needed to properly file the deed and will be a helpful resource for your son. Or, he can have an attorney review the deed documents to ensure proper filing.

“Your son’s assumption of the mortgage is a separate transaction, and one that must be handled through the financial institution,” Frino said. “Many financial institutions charge loan assumption fees, but those fees would be dictated by the lender.”

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This story was originally published on June 9, 2022. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.