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How to handle the house during divorce

New York couples who are beginning the process of divorce are often concerned with one of the most obvious marital assets: the family home. In fact, the future of the marital home is one of the top concerns for those who are breaking up, only slightly less worrisome than the impact that the divorce will have on finances and children. Determining the future of the family home can be much easier if both parties educate themselves about the implication of this property division.

If both parties are interested in selling the home, and the home sale will be profitable, the process is relatively straightforward. Divorcing couples simply agree on a listing price, create a plan for sharing expenses related to the home sale, and split the profit according to the divorce agreement. For those who choose this option, the only hidden concern relates to taxes. If the home will not be sold at a profit, couples are advised to consider whether the sale is the best option. Sometimes, it is best to sever ties with the home and your ex entirely, even if a modest loss is incurred.

In addition, if both parties are amicably divorcing and would like to consider renting the house, they could serve as co-landlords until home values increase and a sale becomes possible.

If one party wants to keep the home, however, a refinancing will probably be in order, with the person who is staying taking charge of all future payments. The home will be appraised, and the spouse who keeps the home will be required to pay half of the equity to his or her ex. This option might require some financial negotiation, especially if the remaining spouse does not have sufficient credit to support the refinancing.

No matter whether you decide to keep or sell your family home, a qualified family attorney and financial expert can help you learn about your property division options. These professionals are prepared to provide answers to all legal and financial questions related to your home sale.

Source:, "Your finance: Divorce and the marital home" Geoff Williams, Oct. 09, 2013

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