The period of separation with the intention of divorce can be a really uncertain time. Even the most amicable of separations present logistical and financial challenges. One of these challenges is figuring out what to do with the family home. There are plenty of questions and scenarios that a couple has to consider.
- Does either spouse want to live there? The shared home may contain painful memories. Some people want a fresh start and want to move.
- Should one spouse continue to live there? If there are children, continuing to live in the home can help maintain some semblance of normalcy and certainty. They will know that they will continue to stay in the same room, sleep in the same bed, and go to the same school.
- Can spouses agree on who will live in the home? Unfortunately, many separations are not amicable. In fact, property division is often a hotly contested issue for couple heading toward divorce. There is the possibility that due to animosity, a couple cannot agree to who will live in the home. Further, some spouses simply refuse to move out of the home.
- Finally, can the separated couple even afford to continue to keep the house? A house is often the most expensive and valuable piece of property that a married couple owns. Even when a marriage is intact, it can be a struggle for a couple to maintain mortgage, utilities, insurance, and property tax payments. So imagine what happens when a couple separates. Under the law, separation means living separate and apart from each other. This means adding another major cost of rent and utilities to an already stressed budget. Depending on a couple’s finances and the amount of equity in the home, it may not be possible to keep the house.
Sometimes the only real option a couple has is to sell the family home so that the proceedings can be divided by the couple. This can be accomplished through a separation agreement, or by court order through equitable distribution proceedings.
Unfortunately, selling a house is easier said than done. The real estate market can be volatile. It can take many months to sell a home. In worse case scenarios, it can take years and the home still ends up selling for far below asking price. This means that if an agreement is made to sell the house, couples need to specify how the mortgage, taxes, and bills will continue to be paid while awaiting the sale of the house.
New Direction Family Law
New Direction Family Law is a family law firm that handles separations, divorces, property division, alimony, child support, and child custody matters. Our clients’ wishes are our top priority and we pride ourselves in providing smart, effective legal guidance. Our attorneys will strongly advocate for your legal rights. Call New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation, or contact us at our website.
Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law