Most divorcing couples’ largest asset is their home. It may possess the bulk of their marital equity, but it may also carry significant sentimental value and create a stable environment for children. Deciding what to do with the house after a divorce is a complex decision that depends on various factors, including financial circumstances, emotional considerations, and practicality. Here are a few options that couples typically consider:
- Sell the house: This is a common option when both parties agree to move on and no longer wish to remain in the property. Selling the house allows for a clean break, and the proceeds can be divided according to the divorce settlement or agreement. If selling the house is the option, we recommend selling before the divorce is finalized to make sure there are no lose ends at the conclusion of your case. We’re happy to work with your realtor or we can recommend one.
- Buyout: If one spouse wants to keep the house, they can choose to buy out the other spouse’s share of the property. This involves determining the value of the home and negotiating a fair buyout amount. The spouse who keeps the house would typically refinance the mortgage in their name alone. If a refinance is not desirable because of interest rates or financial condition, we will identify options to help the parties agree on terms that will accommodate their desired outcome.
- Co-ownership: In some cases, couples may choose to retain joint ownership of the house, particularly when there are children involved. This option allows the children to maintain stability in their living arrangements. However, it requires clear agreements on responsibilities, such as mortgage payments, repairs, and future sales. This “nesting” arrangement is only recommended when both parties are highly amicable to the point of enlightenment.
- Rental property: If the housing market is not favorable for selling or one spouse cannot afford to buy out the other, the couple may consider converting the house into a rental property. This option can provide income while delaying the decision to sell until the market improves. The home would become an investment property that each party could hold a joint interest in moving forward.
When making decisions about the house after divorce, it’s crucial to consult with legal and financial professionals to ensure that all options are explored, and the chosen path aligns with both parties’ best interests. Additionally, open and respectful communication between the divorcing couple is essential for reaching a mutually agreeable solution. When the parties work together, it’s possible to walk away with a win-win outcome.
The Smith Firm family law attorneys are prepared to assist you in addressing and answering your questions relating to what you can do with your marital home in a divorce. Contact us at (405) 843-1000 or schedule your consultation HERE.