Should a divorcing couple sell their home for equity?

Florida couples can possess a lot of equity in their home, which makes personal property so important when it comes time to divide assets in a divorce case. Some couples may decide to simply sell the home outright to gain the equity and split it. However, this is not always a workable option for a number of reasons. 

A piece run in the Huffington Post lays out a few options divorcing couples can explore in dividing their home’s equity. Instead of selling the house, one of the spouses can take sole ownership of the property. The Huffington Post article recommends refinancing as the best way for an ex-spouse to become the sole owner, since it pays the outstanding mortgage debt and replaces it with a brand new loan, frees financial capital to buy out the ex-spouse’s equity share, and takes off the ex-spouse’s name from the mortgage.

In some cases, however, a single spousal ownership is not feasible if the spouse’s income is not strong enough to afford the home. Additionally, the two ex-spouses may simply owe more money than the current worth of the property, or one or both parties cannot afford to move out and find a separate living arrangement. Sometimes a spouse may move out but continue to pay the mortgage to sustain the children’s current living arrangement at the home. In all of these scenarios, the two former spouses may elect to keep the house until the time is right to sell it.

If there are no entangling obligations and if the home possesses no sentimental value, selling off the home remains a viable option. Selling the property also offers two former spouses the opportunity for a cleaner break from each other. Once the debt from the mortgage is retired and all taxes and expenses related from the property sale are dealt with, a divorced couple can divide the remaining cash between each other with each person walking away with his or her share.

This article is intended to educate readers on the topic of home equity and divorces, and is not to be taken as legal advice.

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Beverly L . Brennan Attorney & Counsellor At Law - Naples Florida

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