Homeowners & Divorce: What Can Happen to Your Home?

Going through a divorce can be stressful and overwhelming, especially when it comes to making agreements on joint assets like the marital home. Here, the Harford County divorce attorneys at Rodier Family Law discuss what can happen to the marital home in a divorce and the different options you have to reach an agreement and avoid having the Court make decisions for you. 


Who Gets The House In a Divorce?


The division of family real estate property in a divorce is not as simple as other marital assets. When it comes to your family home, how it is handled in divorce agreements depends on the state you live in as well as how the home was acquired. It is important to understand whether your home is considered marital property or non-marital property, as well as if you live in a community property state or an equitable distribution state.  


In Maryland, generally anything earned, saved or acquired during the time of the marriage, regardless as to whether it is titled to you or to your spouse or to you and your spouse jointly is considered marital property.  Non-marital property may exist, if it was earned, saved, or acquired prior to the marriage, flows from a separate item of non-marital property, was gifted to one spouse by a third party or inherited by one spouse, subject to commingling.  In an equitable distribution state like Maryland, all marital assets are distributed fairly (not necessarily equally) with a Judge determining that distribution or division if the parties are not able to reach an agreement.


Pre and post-nuptial agreements supersede all distribution rules regardless of which state you live in, and often help alleviate any confusion regarding the distribution of assets in a divorce. 


What Are Your Options When Dividing a Home? 


When going through an amicable divorce and deciding what to do with your home, there are several options that you should consider. The first option would be to divide up your largest assets, with each partner receiving ownership of assets of comparable or equitable value. This decision comes with a major benefit, as it is the quickest way to finalize a divorce. An alternative would be to have one party buy out the other party’s interest in the Home, which would require that the person who wishes to keep the home pay his or her spouse out for his or her share of the home and terminate all legal and financial obligations of the spouse being bought out (i.e. refinance into the name of the party keeping the home and pay a sum of money for the other party’s share to that party simultaneously). 


Divorcing couples may also elect to co-own a home, in which they would come to an agreement regarding mortgage payments, dates of those payments, and more. This may a favorable option for those with children as well as situations wherein one partner cannot afford to buy the other one out. 


A more common option is for a couple to list their home on the market and agree as to the division of the proceeds from sale. Not only does this provide a couple with a clean break and closure, but can also provide each party with cash needed for other divorce fees, the purchase of new residences, etc. 


How Do You Sell a Marital Home During Divorce? 


The decision to sell a home requires several agreements to be made by both parties, including on the listing price, closing dates, and contract negotiations. In order to successfully sell a home, the couple must also agree upon a real estate agent, a reasonable and fair price for the home, acceptance of an offer, division of the proceeds from the sale of the home, and more. These decisions can create additional contention between divorcing couples, so it can be helpful to have legal counsel when making them. It is also crucial to consider responsibility for capital gains taxes, as these are paid on the profits made when the home is sold. Depending on the time the house is sold in relevance to the divorce, as well as the tax situation of each party, the amount of capital gains taxes will vary. This is a specific matter that one will most certainly want to consider and consult with not only your attorney but your tax professional and potentially your financial advisor.


Seek Divorce Assistance With the Bel Air Attorneys at Rodier Family Law

Divorce is an overwhelming process even before you consider what will happen to your marital home.  Seeking assistance from a divorce attorney, such as those at Rodier Family Law, can provide you with the help and relief you need to ensure that you are properly and fairly represented during your divorce. To learn how Rodier Family Law can assist you, contact us today.