What to do with the house? A frequently asked question and quandary associated with divorce and dividing marital property. Custodial parents may want to hang onto the home for the sake of the children. Can one or both spouses afford to purchase a replacement home? A lot will depend upon the amount of equity in our home and the ability of either spouse to keep it. Many times couples have exhausted their homes equity with a series of re-financing, usually extending the encumbrances beyond the actual market value of the home. Maintaining at least a 6% margin of equity is vital for selling a house. This 6% allows room for the costs associated with the marketing and selling of the home.

The family home is usually the most valuable asset couples will have to divide in their divorce. It may be difficult to value, is not readily converted to cash, costs a substantial amount of money to maintain and of course there may be tax liabilities associated with the sale depending on how long you have been in the home. So ask yourselves these questions:

  • Should we sell the family home?
  • Do we keep it until the children are grown?
  • Should I keep the home and buyout my spouse, or vice versa?
  • Can either of you afford to keep it after the divorce?

The answers to these questions and others can help you avoid or plan for challenges associated with your real estate. Generally, the family home is the asset that causes the most difficulty during a divorce.

Some of the reasons for this problem are related to the timing. When is the right time to sell? How will the net proceeds be divided and when? Both the sell and the payout usually occur some time after the divorce.

Maintaining the home during the selling process is also vital. Will one of you remain in the home during the time the house is for sale? Yard work must be kept up and there may be necessary repairs required to complete the sell, these things must be planned for. Couples must plan for the payment of household maintenance and upkeep during the divorce process. Maintaining the house in an orderly fashion may be trying during an already stressful time.

Seeking professional representation of a reliable realtor who is qualified to assess the situation and help things move along quickly will relieve a lot of the pressure for you. It is not impossible to manage all these factors as long as they are thought out and planned for.