Houses Now a Financial Burden Divorcing Couples Must Overcome

Not so long ago, houses were considered assets. When couples divorced, they had to sell their house and divide the equity or decide which spouse would own and live in it. Under the strain of current economic conditions, however, housing values have dropped significantly in most parts of the U.S. This has caused many homeowners to become trapped in underwater mortgages, which further complicates property division when marriages dissolve. Divorcing couples today must find alternative ways of dealing with houses, now their largest burdens.

First Things First

The first thing for former spouses to consider is selling the house. Selling a house in today's real estate market takes more time and results in little profits. Attempted home sales, especially in rushed situations like marital dissolutions, often end up in greatly reduced price or short sale scenarios, where the bank forgives part of a mortgage. It may also be difficult for couples who are separating to agree on when to list a property, how to price it and which offer to choose, so exploring alternatives to selling may help save time and money.

Alternatives to Selling

If trying to sell a house under conventional methods is not working or taking too long, there are alternatives. Divorcing or divorced couples can agree to live under the same roof until the real estate market picks up in their residential area. Although this option is emotionally challenging, it saves money for both spouses and may result in increased home values over time. Additionally, if financially possible, one partner could buy the other out of the house, in hopes that he or she can afford to live in it or sell it at a better price in the future.

Best Case Scenario

Divorcing couples still have options for dealing with their homes, but these depend on factors like their individual finances and the likelihood of a quick sale in their residential areas. In reality, the best case scenario is the one that allows both divorcing parties to emotionally and financially cope with and rebound from the new arrangement or sale of a marital home. There are no easy solutions, but there are options.

If you are considering divorce, contact a local family law attorney to discuss your unique situation and options for dealing with a house. A family law lawyer can help you negotiate with your spouse about all available scenarios for owning or selling a house and mediate a resolution that will allow both parties to move on without being too financially burdened.