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Housing options in a divorce

California couples that are ending their marriage should be fully aware of their options when it comes to deciding what to do with the home they once shared. There are a few different courses of action that they can take, but they all involve some important considerations.

If a couple decides to sell their house, they need to make sure they are able to get the most money for it. An experienced real estate agent can help in this regard. Although California is a community property state, the proceeds may not necessarily end up being divided equally. If judges are making the decision, they might take into account whether one party made a larger share of the down payment, for example. Alternatively, the couple might negotiate this issue as part of an overall settlement agreement.

If one spouse decides to buy out the other one, he or she needs to determine how to meet the resulting financial obligations on just one salary instead of two. It might be difficult for one person to refinance a mortgage in such a case. If the loan stays intact, both parties should realize that the lender will not be bound by any provision of a settlement agreement that relieves one party of liability.

Some couples decide to keep up joint ownership of their homes, even if only one of the parties will physically lives there. This can be a good option for couples that remain on good terms and who do not want to disrupt the lives of their young children.

Property division is often one of the more difficult divorce legal issues, and the family home is just one aspect of it. When a couple has been married for a long time, there will often be other types of investments as well as retirement accounts to consider. These matters are often the subject of negotiations carried out with the assistance of the couple's respective family law attorneys.

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