If you are overwhelmed with the divorce process it is important to take a step back and get organized. One of the most overwhelming aspects of divorce is related to getting your financial documents gathered and assessed. For our clients in Bucks and Montgomery Counties here in PA, we know how stressful this can be, especially when it comes to your home.
What will happen to your home when you get divorced? For most couples the marital home is one of the largest assets in their financial portfolio. Typically there is a mortgage attached to the home and equity that needs to be evaluated. One party may want to keep the home, but doing so can cause financial issues.
The best way to answer the question of “What should we do with the house in our divorce?” is to first take a look at the following:
The most recent appraisal of the marital home or fair market value. This is an important first step in determining what the house is worth in today’s market. We recommend checking out comparable homes in your area that are on the market and that have recently sold. Additionally, you will want to talk to a local realtor for current market conditions and determine if it is a seller’s market.
Your current mortgage statement and home equity line of credit statements. With the appraisal and the debt owed, we can determine the equity you have in your house and come up with a plan to divide that equity or have one spouse buy the other out of the house. If you have a home equity line of credit that will reduce your overall equity in the house and, when sold, will be paid off first from any proceeds.
Detailed information on who owned the home at the time of marriage. If one spouse owned the home before you were married, then their initial investment of a down payment and some appreciation may not be subject to distribution. We can only divide appreciation that was earned during the course of the marriage. Additionally, if one of you owned the house and the other paid for improvements or paid down the mortgage, then those factors would also need to be discussed.
Copy of the deed. It is very important to have a clear picture of who has legal rights to your home. One or both of you may be on the deed and the distinction is important for many reasons we can discuss. Additionally, if one of you wants to buy the other out of the house then the deed may need to be changed.
When we work with clients like you we explain each step of the process and look for every opportunity to ease your stress. Your current housing situation and how you want to start your post-divorce life are guiding factors in our work as we negotiate on your behalf. Getting all of your financial documents organized will make this easier for you to understand and also considerably reduce your legal bills.