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To sell or keep: what to do with the family home during divorce

Divorce can be a draining process for the unprepared. From the events leading to the divorce to the years following, the effects of divorce could ripple into every aspect of a person's life. Unfortunately, even confident couples that are intent on handling the process peacefully can turn hostile over one common area: the division of marital property. The division of marital property can be a chaotic sea to navigate through, and the most difficult part of the journey is how to handle the family home.

The division of marital property is the process in which the court or, hopefully, the divorcing couple, divides the property obtained during the marriage, sometimes called "equitable distribution." During the settlement process, the divorcing parties will attempt to reach a fair agreement regarding the division of marital property. If the parties cannot decide how to divide the property, the court will examine the relevant evidence and come to a fair resolution. The marital home, however, brings additional issues.

Commonly, at least one of the parties will have an emotional connection to the family home; however, when determining the disposition of the family home, the most common issue is whether the receiving individual wishes to take sole ownership of the property rather than sell the home and receive liquid assets. These two different outcomes will depend on various factors.

For instance, when determining whether to receive sole ownership of the property or whether to sell the family home and receive the liquid assets, the receiving party must decide whether they can afford the costs of retaining the home, namely paying upkeep costs and taxes. The cost of upkeep and paying the relevant taxes cannot be overstated. If the receiving spouse is unable to afford upkeep and taxes, then the spouse will be worse off, and the outcome will not be equitable.

Divorce is a difficult process that brings with it financial and legal complexities, not to mention that ic can sometimes be a deeply emotional process. When going through a divorce, An experienced attorney can help an individual determine the best option and provide support through these difficult times.

Source: CNBC.com, "When it comes to divorce, not all assets are equal," Sarah O'Brien, Sept. 22, 2017

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