What happens to a couple’s home in their divorce
depends largely on the circumstances of their divorce and the couple’s desires and goals. In most cases, the couple’s home is a marital asset. As such, its value must be divided equitably between the couple
. This can mean the home’s value is somehow split and shared between the couple or that one partner retains it while the other takes a larger share of their other marital assets to “make up” for his or her partner retaining the home.
How much money the couple owes on the home’s mortgage is an important factor for them and the court to consider when dividing it as a marital asset. Other considerations that can influence how the home is handled include the couple’s parenting plan and the home’s property taxes.
The Home Must be Appraised and its Value as a Marital Asset Determined
No matter what happens to the home, it must be accurately appraised. A real estate appraiser may be brought in to accurately value the home.
Working with your Spouse to Decide What to Do with the Home
Completing the property division portion of your divorce is easiest if you and your spouse can agree to the terms of the division. Talk to him or her about your desires for the home – if you can afford to make the home’s payments on your own, consider buying out your spouse’s share of the house and refinancing it in your name after the divorce. If neither of you want the home, consider selling it and sharing the profits. Another option yet is to keep the home as a joint asset, rent it out, and share the rental income.
How the Court Treats the Marital Home
When the court has to determine how to divide a couple’s home, it must consider a variety of factors to determine a fair way to split its value as part of the marital estate. This could mean permitting one partner to retain the home while the other takes a larger share of the couple’s other assets. The court can also require the couple to sell the house and share its profit.
Factors the court uses to determine a fair property division settlement include:
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Each partner’s financial contribution to the home and other assets;
If one partner owned the home before marriage, how the home’s value changed since the other spouse began to contribute toward its mortgage, upkeep, and renovations;
The tax burden the house would impose on each party as an individual owner; and
Each partner’s income and separate assets.
Your home is most likely your most valuable marital asset. In your divorce, your home should be handled carefully and you should thoroughly consider every available option for dividing it and the rest of your marital estate with your spouse. To learn more, contact Draper Law Office today at (866) 767-4711 or online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation in one of our Central Florida offices.