Eric S. Neumann, APLC
Family law attorney serving clients in Lafayette and throughout Acadiana
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Real estate challenges and divorce

Selling the home after divorce may have emotional and financial consequences while the For-Sale sign acts as an advertisement for the end of the marriage. There are several ways to deal with this property division issue.

A house and mortgage that was financed by a married couple may be a financial challenge for the spouse who receives this asset. A financial analysis of monthly expenses should be performed before one spouse tries to keep the house. A spouse may learn that they cannot afford to keep the house.

Many couples also decide that one spouse will refinance the mortgage to remove the financial burden for the other spouse but agree to keep both spouses on the deed to cut down on paperwork. However, an uncooperative co-owner may hold up any sale of the house.

One spouse should be removed from the deed unless their settlement clearly sets forth shared property ownership and responsibilities. The spouse who is leaving the house should also cut their tie with it, so they do not face legal or financial burdens if their former spouse faces payment or foreclosure problems.

Selling the house immediately and dividing the profits equally is recommended if the couple wants to move on or they cannot afford it. When this occurs, spouses must agree on a real estate agent to list their property. Spouses can also agree to sell the house at a future time, such as when the children complete school. However, amicability and cooperation may lapse over time.

Another option, especially when the couple has children, is for a spouse to buy out the other spouse. They should have an appraisal performed to determine the current market value. The deed needs to be transferred to the purchasing spouse. However, the buying spouse must also assure they can afford this purchase.

A spouse can also agree to sign over their ownership for no money. This is often done in return for another asset or lower support payments. Finally, spouses are beginning to engage in nesting in which they both continue to own the house and alternate living in it with their children to assure continuity for them. However, both spouses assume additional expenses and may have disagreements over matters such as housekeeping and upkeep expenses. An attorney can provide options on dividing property. Legal representation can help assure that the decree is fair and reasonable.

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