Your House in Divorce: What’s Good for You?

Your home is your castle. A status symbol, a safe haven, and shelter from the elements. Deciding the fate of a family home in divorce proceedings is usually one of the most contentious elements of a divorce. As with any disputes involving fortifications, the proceedings can be bloody, brutal, and usually end up with both parties battered, bruised, and dissatisfied. Knowing your options and choosing them well in advance is worth considering.

Staying at Home, Not Necessarily Together
While popular culture usually sticks with the trope of one party getting to keep the house and the other barely making away with the shirt on their back, reality is usually a lot more complicated. Within a divorce settlement, particularly if you opt for a no-fault divorce and remain on good terms, retaining co-ownership of a family house is an option. As long as the business relationship regarding the property is regulated by a written contract, in clear, unambiguous terms, it is an option that should be considered.

Buying the Other Party Out
Even with the most talented collaborative lawyers, sometimes it’s smarter to let the property go – or purchase the equity of your former partner. In these cases, you should invest in a proper appraisal specialist. While divorce appraisals can cost as much as four times the usual rate, due to the difficult and relatively short-term nature of the project, they allow you to establish in relatively certain terms just how much the property is worth and what is a fair asking price. Cooperation between you, your former partner, and your respective lawyers is vital.

Selling the Estate
Out of the three basic options, selling may very well be the optimal solution. A word of caution: Even if the two of you work together and you have talented collaborative lawyers working out an ironclad divorce settlement, you might still have trouble finding a broker willing to take on this kind of contract. Its sensitive nature and the chance of complications mean that you will both want a specialist handling it.

In Summary
Dealing with the house in divorce is second only to custody disputes when it comes to complications. Cooperation between you and your former partner goes a long way towards settling it peacefully – as does working out a rough idea of what you want done with it in advance.

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