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How to divide real estate during a divorce

The purchase of a home is typically the largest single expenditure a married couple makes in California or anywhere around the nation. When a couple decides to get a divorce, dealing with the home can prove to be a complicated issue since it is likely the largest asset. While experts acknowledge that divorce proceedings may be stressful, it is important to make informed decisions regarding the home during property division.

Some couples elect to keep the situation just as it is. When the ex-spouses plan on passing the home to their children, they may decide to continue to jointly own the residence. Others agree to sell the home, then split the proceeds from the sale. It would be important to consider the additional fees that may come with the sale of the home. One non-financial cost to remember is the potential emotional impact on children if they have to leave the only home they've ever known.

The title of the home may be transferred from one spouse to another using a transfer or quitclaim deed. This option eliminates the need for property tax reassessments. A critical consideration should be the financial impact on the spouse that will be solely responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the home. Also, should that spouse have difficulty in making mortgage payments, a lending institution could seek payment from the other spouse whose name is still on the loan documents.

The same options apply if a couple owns other property in addition to their residence. The couple should address which spouse has the better skills to manage real estate when dividing the property. The ex-spouses may agree to sell some properties for cash for one and trade other assets for equity in a property for the other.

Division of assets is often a complex issue in divorce proceedings. Those contemplating ending a marriage would be wise to seek the guidance of a California divorce lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney will work to protect an individual's financial position both now and in the future.

Source: ukiahdailyjournal.com, "How's the Market? Divorce and real estate", Richard Selzer, Nov. 17, 2017

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