Should a Home Be Sold in a Divorce?

When a couple in California makes the choice to end their marriage for whatever reason, the admittedly difficult task of splitting assets and debts must be undertaken.

There may be some things that people are relatively comfortable with letting go, especially if it meant more to the other person than to them. Then there are other things that spouses may find very difficult to consider losing. A family home is often one of these things.

Affordability of a home

If a spouse is trying to determine whether or not they can afford to keep a home, Forbes encourages them to consider all of the costs associated with owning the house. That means going beyond the mortgage and factoring in all of the other costs including property taxes, homeowner's insurance, repair and maintenance.

These costs will not reduce after a divorce even though the income of the person who wants to stay in the home may reduce. This reality must be considered with care.

Managing a joint mortgage

Most couples who own homes together also have mortgages together in both people's names. Even if the agreement is made that one spouse will keep the home after the divorce, a decision about what will happen to the mortgage should be made. Time explains that leaving the joint mortgage intact exposes the spouse who leaves the home to a potentially serious level of risk.

If the person in the home who is technically supposed to pay the mortgage fails to make payments, the other person's credit may be negatively affected. If the home is eventually foreclosed on or sold in a short sale, the same could be true.

Mortgage lenders may also pursue debt collection against both people named on the loan. Even the presence of a quitclaim deed whereby official ownership of the home is transferred to one person only may not prevent these outcomes as a loan is separate from the home itself.

Selling a home

The true cost of home ownership and the challenges of navigating a joint mortgage after a divorce often lead couples to the decision to sell their home when they divorce. Bankrate adds that many people end up finding this the simplest way to handle a home and to move forward emotionally.

Guidance makes a difference

Divorcing spouses in California should always work with a family law attorney. Getting the input of an experienced professional can help people evaluate all of the factors necessary to make the best decisions for their situations.