The former Today Show host listed a $44 million home for sale as part of his divorce settlement with ex-wife Annette Roque.
Roque and Lauer purchased the sprawling estate, which dates back to 1920, in 2013 from actor Richard Gere. While their divorce was pending, the couple lived together in the sprawling, 12-bedroom, 12-bathroom, 6.2-acre estate. Now, Roque plans to move to another Hamptons home with the children, and Lauer will seek alternative arrangements.
Roque filed for divorce shortly after sexual misconduct allegations against Lauer surfaced in 2017. NBC did not include Lauer on a recent 25th anniversary Today Show video.
“Unlike the Lauers, most New Yorkers only have one family home, and it’s not a mansion in the Hamptons,” observed Syracuse family law attorney Richard J. Bombardo. “Disposing of this property is often both a financial and emotional conundrum. Fortunately, there are some options available.”
Financially, a house could either be a debt or an asset. Many couples have either substantial equity or substantial negative equity in a property. Cases in the middle, or a minimal amount of equity, are relatively rare.
New York is an equitable division state, so assets and debt must be divided in such a way that does not make the divorce an unfair financial burden on either party. Some factors to consider in this division include:
- Income and property of each spouse at the time of divorce,
- Duration of the marriage,
- Custody of minor children,
- Standard of living during the marriage,
- Economic and noneconomic contributions to the relationship, and
- Other property orders, including alimony payments.
Emotionally, it’s usually in the best interests of the children for them to remain in the family home. Many times, the residential parent needs some financial help in this area, at least for a little while. In these situations, the judge could either divide the mortgage obligation or approve more alimony.
This division often creates economic problems all of its own. As mentioned, many spouses have substantial equity in their homes at the time of divorce. To preserve the non-residential custodian’s interests, an owelty lien of partition may be an option. The non-owner spouse takes out a lien for his or her equity share. Later, when the other spouse sells the property, the lien must be paid.
In this way, one spouse gets to stay in the home with the children, the other spouse is not prejudiced (assuming the lien includes an interest provision), and the house stays in the family. In other situations, an offset may be appropriate. For example, Husband could waive his equity claim in exchange for a larger share of a retirement account.