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What do you do with the house in a divorce?

What do you do with the house in a divorce?

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For most couples, their house is their biggest shared asset. Therefore, it makes sense to worry about what they can do about the house when a divorce is looming. The answer isn’t always easy.

Divorces are seldom conveniently timed, so you might not have enough equity in your home to sell it without a loss. The real estate market may be weak in your area right now. Sometimes, there are other issues tied to the house — like problems involved with uprooting the kids while they’re young or going through a difficult time.

So what can you do? Here are some of the options divorcing couples have:

  • Sell it before the divorce: This usually requires both halves of the couple to move out and work together on the sale. However, it can allow them to access their equity fairly quickly and end their financial ties more easily.
  • Sell it after the divorce: This can permit one or both parties to remain in residence until the divorce is over, which can be convenient. It also allows them to take more time to sell the property — which can help them avoid a financial loss.
  • One spouse sells to the other. Buyouts are common when one spouse wants to remain in the home and has the money to handle the upkeep and mortgage — plus the financial means to buy out the other’s share of the equity.
  • Keep the home for a while and let one party live there. This method is often chosen when there are children involved, and parents don’t want to add to the distress they’re already experiencing from the divorce. It requires agreements on who will pay for what kinds of repairs and when a sale should start, among other things.
  • Keep the home and both parties live there. This is another method parents often use to make things easier on the kids — and each other. It requires a lot of cooperation but can be workable. It also requires some clear agreements about what will happen in the future to the home.

There’s no one “perfect” solution for everyone. Your divorce is unique, so make sure that you work toward an agreement that reflects your needs and priorities.

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