Ways to Fairly Divide Your Home With Your Ex
Since a home is most people’s largest asset, it’s no surprise that property disputes are one of the biggest reasons for fights during divorce proceedings. If you are not interested in a court battle, it is a good idea to be flexible and talk about your options. Here are some ideas for how you and your estranged spouse can fairly divide your family home.
Exchanging the House for Other Assets
The first thing to recognize is that it’s not technically necessary to split the house. During a divorce, you are splitting all the assets you and your partner contributed to. So if one person really loves the house and the other person doesn’t care at all, it may be worthwhile to just let that person have the house. To keep asset division fair, your divorce lawyer might suggest that the other spouse gets things like a bigger portion of a retirement fund, more of the joint savings account, or possession of other property. This solution works best in cases where couples have a lot of assets, so a house is just one of the many things to negotiate. It may not be possible if all your funds are tied up in the value of your home.
One Partner Buying Out the Other’s Share
This option is popular in a divorce where you want to split all assets down the middle, but one partner wants the house more than the other does. On the surface, it’s a simple thing that involves one person giving away some of their personal funds, while the other person gets full control of the house. The tricky part is determining the value of the house. Some people may want to get half of the full market value of the house. Others may be fine just getting half of the original cost of the house or half of what they both paid into the house over the years. When negotiating this, it may be necessary for the seller to decide whether their goal is maximum profit or just recouping a little costs and escaping the responsibilities of home ownership.
Continuing to Co-Own the House
Sometimes, either partner selling their share just doesn’t work. Often, people want to wait to sell until market conditions improve or until their kids move out of the home. Keeping your finances entangled can be a little tricky. It’s a good idea to get help from a divorce mediation practitioner who can assist you with navigating all the emotions and financial disagreements involved in co-owning a house after divorce. You will need to be able to handle things like splitting the cost of repairs and agreeing on who gets to spend time in the house. Keep in mind that you will each technically be responsible for the full cost of the mortgage, so it can make it hard to get credit for things like car purchases.
Selling the House and Splitting the Profits
Selling the house, subtracting all costs, and then dividing the profits into two equal shares is a fairly simple way of dealing with the conflict. Though actually preparing the house and selling it takes time, this agreement reduces arguments and gives each person money to start their new life. This is actually the solution the courts usually recommend if the two spouses cannot agree on who gets the house. However, going through the court takes extra time, and then you would have a rushed sale that might not net the highest cost. Therefore, agreeing to this solution can give you a little more time to find a favorable sale.
As you can see, there are a lot of creative solutions to the question of who gets the house. Having a divorce lawyer who can help you negotiate a clear and satisfying agreement can take a lot of the stress out of dividing assets in a divorce. The Law Office of Joanne Kleiner is here to assist people living in Montgomery, Bucks, and Philadelphia counties with their divorces. Call 215-886-1266 or fill out our contact form to learn more about how we might be able to help you.