What will happen to our marital home in a divorce?

Being married means that you and your spouse will share many things, from children and homes to pets and retirement funds. When you get divorced, untangling these shared assets can be one of the most difficult things to do.

In terms of belongings, real estate can be a particularly thorny part of asset division. Marital homes and other properties aren’t just high-value in regards to money; they can also be of great emotional value to you and/or your soon-to-be ex which can make it even more complicated to know what to do with them in a divorce. 

It is common for people to want to hold on to certain property (like a marital home) for sentimental or economic reasons. This is certainly a possibility for many people, but it is crucial to understand the financial ramifications of holding on to shared property post-divorce. If you are the one keeping a home, for instance, you may need to refinance the house, qualify for a loan in your name alone and take on the full financial responsibility of maintaining a home.

If you are like many people across Florida, holding on to shared property by yourself is simply not something you can or want to do. In these situations, it may be necessary to sell your home. Generally speaking, this means that you and your ex will give up the property and split whatever comes of the transaction. This could be a profit or a loss, depending on the terms of the sale.

There are other options that you may want to consider, from renting a property to keeping the property in both people’s names, but these and similar options can require extensive cooperation and clearly drawn lines regarding how the responsibilities will be divided and/or shared. Unless you and your ex are on good amicable terms, these may not be reasonable options.

Whatever you decide to do with real estate assets, the fact is that there will typically be legal complications that arise and complex matters that should be addressed before parties agree to anything. Working with an attorney during this process will be vital.

Source: The New York Times, “Divorce and the Shared Mortgage,” Lisa Prevost, Oct. 30, 2015

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