The most valuable piece of property owned by most couples is their house. A house represents a large financial investment and holds significant sentimental value to both adults and their children. During a divorce a couple may spend months, or even years, fighting for control of the house. Unfortunately, once the house is awarded to a spouse, the property often becomes a burden instead of a tangible symbol of your victory. Deciding what you should do with your house is not easy and often will be influenced by post-divorce circumstances. Having a basic idea of what options are available to you can help you when the time to make a final decision arrives.
Live in the House
Continuing to live in the house is often the simplest choice for the average person. Staying in the marital home means you will not have to go through the inconvenience and expense of a move. If you work near your home or have children attending school, staying in the home allows you to bypass the stress of adjusting to a long commute or transferring rebellious children to a new school. However, the income of most people drops dramatically after a divorce. If you live in your marital home, you must be able to continue paying your mortgage, homeowners insurance, and utilities often without financial assistance if your ex-spouse falls behind in child support or alimony payments.
Sell the House
Either you and your spouse may agree to sell a jointly owned house or the judge reviewing your case may insist that selling the property is the best option for your scenario. Regardless, selling the property is a common choice that couples make after a divorce. Once the property is sold you and your spouse will be able to pay off joint debt and enter your post-divorce life without major financial entanglements. If the real estate market in your area has limited buyers expect to share maintenance duties and financial obligations until the house is sold. This includes paying property taxes, association dues, and homeowner’s insurance.
There are times when a house cannot be sold through traditional means or as a short sale leaving you and your former spouse tied together as homeowners. Credit challenges, a poor real estate market, and lack of options in general may lead to both parties choosing to walk away from the property. Defaulting on the mortgage will eventually lead to a foreclosure and a loss of the property along with significant credit damage. Foreclosure is not an option that any homeowner wants to consider, but depending upon your divorce and the financial situation you are left in foreclosure may become the most realistic option available.
Get Legal Advice
If you or someone close to you is going through a divorce involving real property getting the advice of a qualified property division attorney will help you make the best decision available. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum know that every divorce is different and we work with you to come up with a solution that is appropriate for you financially and legally. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation at our Atlanta, Georgia office so that we can begin discussing your case.