Disposing of the family home during divorce

| Jan 20, 2021 | Property Division

If you’re marriage is on the rocks and quickly headed toward divorce, then you’re probably worried about a lot of different things. One of the concerns at the top of your list is probably property division given that it can dictate what your finances look like long after your divorce is finalized. While California is a community property state, there’s still a lot of room for negotiating how property will be divided. This might include your family’s residence.

What should you do with the family home?

The family home can have a significant amount of value, especially if you’ve spent decades building equity. A lot of people have emotional attachments to their residence, too. This is understandable given that they’ve often build their lives in these home. Yet, fighting to keep the family residence may or may not be in your best interests. Consider you options when it comes to this major piece of your marital property:

  • Buy from or sell to your spouse: This option will require someone to have a lot of cash on hand, but it can lead to the outcome you desire. Just make sure that you realize that buying out your spouse means that you’re going to be solely responsible for the mortgage, maintenance, and upkeep based on your income alone.
  • Barter: You and your spouse can exchange other marital property for the home. Again, just make sure that you’re not getting short-changed. If you’re giving up assets to keep the home, make sure the value is equivalent to what you’re getting. You don’t want to let more valuable retirement assets go by if you can avoid it.
  • Sell to a third-party: This is probably the most popular option because it gives you a clean break while providing you with some cash to reestablish yourself post-divorce. Just make sure you’re selling your home at the right time and at the right price.
  • Co-own: It might sound strange, but continuing to co-own the residence with your spouse may be a viable option. It allows you to share costs while continuing to build equity. You might even be able to turn it into an investment property. If you have kids, then keeping the home can give them a sense of stability. Just be aware that someone is probably going to have to foot the bill for a second place to live.

Take a holistic approach to your divorce

Divorce is a multifaceted. As such, you need to make sure that you have a clear plan for every aspect of your marriage dissolution so that you are as strongly positioned as possible moving forward. For that, a skilled legal professional can prove to be a powerful ally.

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