Divorce is an emotionally challenging time that often involves dividing assets, including the marital residence.  Determining what to do with the family home can be a complex decision, but fortunately, there are several options available for couples seeking to untangle their lives and move forward.

Sell the Marital Residence: One of the most straightforward solutions is to sell the marital residence and divide the proceeds between both parties.  This option can offer a clean break and provide financial independence for both individuals.  Selling the property requires an appraisal and agreement on the listing price.  Once sold, the proceeds can be divided according to the divorce settlement.

Buyout by One Spouse:  Another option is for one spouse to buy out the other’s share of the marital residence.  This arrangement allows one party to keep the home and compensate the other for their share of the property. The buyout amount is typically determined by assessing the property’s current value and deducting any outstanding mortgages or debts.  The spouse who keeps the home should ensure they can afford the mortgage payments, taxes, and maintenance costs going forward.

Co-ownership and Rental:  In some cases, divorcing couples may choose to maintain joint ownership of the marital residence, either to provide stability for children or due to financial constraints.  They can continue living together, engage in a nesting arrangement where they share two households and switch while the children remain in the home, or convert the property into a rental.  Co-ownership requires establishing clear guidelines regarding mortgage payments, maintenance responsibilities, and the division of rental income or expenses. 

Deferred Sale: If there are children involved, divorcing couples may opt for a deferred sale of the marital residence.  This option allows the custodial parent to remain in the home until certain agreed-upon conditions occur, such as the youngest child reaching a specific age or completing their education.  During the deferred sale period, the parties need to work out how to pay the mortgage payments, taxes, and maintenance fees.  Once the agreed-upon conditions are met, the property is typically sold, and the proceeds are divided.

Determining what to do with the marital residence during a divorce is a significant decision that requires careful consideration.  The family home is important, not just as an asset to the marital estate, but serves as a place of stability, comfort, and memories.  Within the above options, there are mechanisms to be creative. At Berner Law & Mediation Group, our attorneys and mediators recognize the pros and cons of each option and seek to facilitate a solution that works for your entire family. 

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