Real Estate & Divorce
With nearly 40% of marriages ending in divorce, chances are that you or someone you know will be touched by this major life transition. If so, the family home is probably the most valuable material asset of your marriage. It can set you up for feast or famine based on your choice to cooperate amicably or battle each other.
What are Your Options? When you decide to get divorced, there are three options regarding the house ranging from the simplest to the most complicated:
a. Sell the House Sometimes the easiest solution is to sell the house and split the proceeds. Many couples choose this option when:
- there is a decent amount of equity tied up in the house, and
- the mortgage, tax, maintenance & associated payments are, or may become, too much for one person to carry.
b. Keep the House (and Refinance) You or your spouse may keep the house through a "buy out." The selling spouse usually insists on:
- receiving fair market value for his/her share,
- refinancing the mortgage in order that his/her name may be removed from the mortgage, and
- quickly receiving his/her money, usually through increasing the size of the old mortgage.
c. Do Nothing You could maintain the status quo, the house isn't sold or refinanced. Instead, the "move-out" spouse agrees to wait a certain number of years before the house is sold, often a time frame that corresponds with the children leaving home. The status quo solution may sound attractive, but there are many risks involved.