Whose Property Is It?
The first thing that needs to be determined in a divorce concerning the real property (real estate property) owned by either party is to determine whether the property is considered marital property. This would include any property purchased after the marriage, and usually any increase in value of real property during the time of the marriage even if purchased before the marriage, and especially if improvements to the property were done during the marriage. If property purchased before the marriage decreased in value, the possible debt incurred is not considered marital property.
- It doesn’t matter if both names are on the deed if the property was purchased during the marriage.
- If one party moves out before or during the divorce, it doesn’t change their right to their share of the home.
Make a Deal
After determining the real property that needs to be split up, I recommend getting that property evaluated by a real estate professional to determine market value. Once you have the values, you can then put your negotiating hat on and at least have some say in how your property is split. Don’t be afraid to use other assets (cars, cash, etc.) as bargaining chips to keep the property, or to ask for in exchange for the property should you not wish to keep it. It is highly recommended that you come to a civil agreement, otherwise the judge will determine how everything is split.
Let the Judge Decide
A common solution in a divorce where the parties can’t agree on the split of real property, the judge could order you to sell the home and split the profit after paying off any debt associated with the property. Should the money from the sale of the property not cover such debts, the parties split the debt. In cases involving children, the judge might give the family home to the parent who will have primary physical custody to maintain some stability in the children’s lives.
Divorces can get really complicated and stressful, especially when real property is involved. I strongly advise that you hire people who deal with these situations every day to guide you through the process. The results of a divorce are permanent, and though it is very tempting to let things slide just to get it over with, quality professional help can go a long way to help you come out on top while you focus on healing and moving on.