You are currently stuck at home with your husband or wife, and it might turn out that you actually hate being around them. If there is one thing, the lockdowns have shown it is that you get a chance to learn about your spouse when both of you are cooped up at home all day long.
This could be a good thing, or it could be a bad thing, and if early data from China is any suggestion, the number of divorce cases could spike when the lockdowns end. Such a spike would reverse a trend in divorcesthat had been declining for several years.
Beyond the trends, the reality is that a divorce is a deeply personal event. Not only are the emotional issues that come with ending a marriage, but there is also the impact on your children. Then there are discussions about joint property, such as houses, cars, furnishing and financial assets such as bank accounts, investment accounts, and even credit cards.
As you can imagine, things can get messy, especially if you need litigation, and with that in mind, here are some pointers on how to split your real estate when your marriage splits.
- Know the Value of Your Home
One of the toughest challenges when deciding to split joint property is getting an accurate valuation. As such, the best advice is to get an independent third party to value a home. This can be especially useful when the home is not sold as part of the divorce, but other assets will be used to compensate the spouse who does not get the house.
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One thing to keep in mind with getting an appraisal is that these are opinions of value, and this is not the same as the market value. The latter is determined by what a buyer will pay for the asset, while the former is the opinion of an experienced appraiser. As such, you might need to get multiple valuation opinions – especially if the lawyers can not agree on the final number.
The plus to getting multiple opinions, assuming they are conducted around the same time, is that you will get a range of valuations, and from this, all parties should be able to “split the difference.”
- Have a Plan for Your Home
Now that you know how much your home is worth, the next step is to have a plan for your home. Given that for most people, their home is their most valuable asset, it is important to have a plan for your home.
The most likely scenarios are to either sell the home and split the proceeds, one spouse buys out the other spouse, both former spouses keep possession of the house until it can be sold, or one spouse gets the home outright.
The latter options usually happen when there are children involved, and it is agreed that moving might not be in their best interest. Another reason is that now might not be the right time to sell a home. For example, the expected economic downturn tied to the global pandemic could mean that now is not the time to put a house on the market.
However, if the decision is to sell the house at a later date, the divorce agreement must mention how changes in the home’s value and capital repairs will be handled. In some cases, the split will be 50/50, while in other cases, it will depend on the exact circumstances of the divorce.
If you are not sure what the right approach should be in your case, it might behoove you to reach out to a divorce attorney to figure out your best options. If you are in or around Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, then you might want to check out https://www.ljacobsonlaw.com/pa/divorce-attorney-harrisburg/. For those of you in other parts of the country, you can go online to find a divorce attorney in your area who can help.
- Get it on Paper
Divorces can be tricky, even when amicable. As such, you want to get whatever agreement you work out for your home on paper. While you might not be able to plan for every scenario, make sure the approach is thorough and that there is a dispute resolution process outlined in the agreement just in case.
Beyond this, you will want to make sure that the agreement is something that you, and possibly your ex, can live up to. This means being realistic as to how much you think your home is worth and the conditions for splitting the property. Do not try to do this by yourself. Instead, get professional advice as this will save you time and money in the long rung.