“There is a moment in the life of anyone getting a divorce when reality hits home. This is really happening. I’m getting divorced. Whether you are the one who initiated the breakup or the one on the receiving end, you’ll eventually face this, and it can happen anytime during the process. For some, it’s a jolt of the highest magnitude; for others it’s something that’s been building for a long time, and may even come as a welcome release. You may be glad your marriage is finally over, but you’ll still feel the impact of that moment. It will be important then to keep your perspective: You will get through it – and if you make the right choices, you will be okay.” 1 This is the opening paragraph of a recently released book, which can be found on Amazon, titled Divorcing the House by Laurel Starks.
As a general rule, the most valuable property assets in a divorce are the retirement account and the house. The retirement account is easy to divide as there is no emotional attachment. However, as Ms. Starks so eloquently states in her book, the house can be very difficult to divide because of the emotional attachment most people have to it. After all, for most, it is the first home they ever purchased, or at least purchased together. It is also the place where the children have grown and memories were formed.
When a couple divorces, decisions have to be made regarding the family home. Does one spouse buy the other one out? If so, how do they come to an agreed upon value? Is it sold? Are there repairs that need to be made before it is listed for sale, and who is going to pay for it? Who will be the listing agent? What will be the asking price? The decisions to be made are endless. Keep in mind, when a couple is divorcing, they usually are having difficulties agreeing on the color of the sky. Difficulties in making life altering decisions, such as those involving the home, can be almost impossible to overcome.
Ms. Starks’ book makes for an easy read and is full of advice from attorneys, judges and mental health professionals who explore the problems that can arise regarding the family home when a couple is divorcing. Even if you are not getting a divorce, it is a good read to help one understand the complexities regarding a real estate purchase and sale.
If you are divorcing and own a home, make certain you consult with a reputable and experienced attorney, as well as a realtor experienced in selling the homes of divorcing couples.
1 Referenced with permission.