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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

Who Gets the House: Divorce and Real Estate Assets

Written by Posted On Thursday, 29 November 2018 17:13

If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are planning to file for an uncontested divorce, there are several key issues that need to be resolved at the divorce mediation table before you can reach a final settlement and dissolve your marriage. Division of property, particularly real estate, is one of the most contentious issues that arise in divorce negotiations. When you and your soon-to-be former spouse are ready to discuss the terms of your divorce, here are some things you need to know about how your real estate assets will be treated in order to reach a fair, equitable divorce settlement.

When it comes to real estate in a divorce, the most important question is whether a property was purchased jointly. Real estate that was bought prior to your marriage by you or your soon-to-be ex, and does not list both of your names on the deed, is not considered marital property. Real estate that falls into this category does not need to be included in a divorce agreement. However, any property purchased after your marriage, or with both of your names listed on the deed, is considered marital property and must be divided fairly in accordance with the terms of your divorce settlement.

Another factor to consider in the division of real estate during a divorce is whether the property in question is your primary residence. According to uncontested divorce service SplitSimple, If you and your spouse own a house that has served as your marital home, the question of who gets it in the divorce may be less about equitable division of property and more about who has the greater need for it. While many divorcing couples tend to agree to give the house to the party who will be retaining custody of the children, so as not to uproot them unnecessarily, other couples may not have children to factor into their decision. In this case, a divorcing couple could decide either to sell the house and split the profits or to grant ownership of the property to the party with the more compelling reason for living there. For instance, if one spouse faces a much longer work commute if he or she is forced to move out of the marital home, then it may make more sense for him or her to remain in the house while the other spouse finds a new residence.

In addition to your primary dwelling, other properties you may own, such as a vacation home or an investment rental property, may either be sold, with profits divided fairly, or equitably distributed in your divorce agreement, with one spouse getting the rental property and the other spouse keeping the vacation cabin, for instance. In the end, if you can both successfully negotiate the division of your real estate assets during your divorce mediation sessions, you can expect a fair settlement when you finalize your divorce.

By keeping a clear head, trying to avoid emotional outbursts, and staying rational throughout the divorce mediation process, you and your soon-to-be former spouse can reach a suitable, mutually beneficial agreement that leads to a fair resolution for everyone involved.

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