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Client Divorce Advice: What About the House?

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Client Divorce Advice: What About the House?

Written by: Robert D. Bordett, CFP®, CDFA®

Divorce is dealing with hundreds of details, some more important than others. One detail that merits extra contemplation is how to deal with the marital home.

Does one spouse want to keep it because the children still live there? You don’t want to disrupt their lives any more than is already happening.

What if the children are grown? Do you still need that much of a house?

Here are the three most common means for clients to deal with a house in divorce:

Selling the house and dividing the proceeds. Clients could possibly owe capital gains on the house or they may not. Make sure that they know what their adjusted basis is for the house, for tax purposes.

Related: 5 Mistakes Women Make During a Divorce

One spouse wants to buy the other spouse out. The purchasing spouse should check their credit and determine if they can get a mortgage — and whether they can afford the payments and upkeep of the house.

Keeping the house for a while. Maintaining joint ownership may work, or it may not work. Clients should try to anticipate all of the things that can go wrong with owning the house with their former spouse.

Having a divorce professional like a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) ensures that all these details are attended to, and that all considerations are weighed. In addition to real-world knowledge about things like real estate, I have an extensive network of related divorce and financial professionals who assist in assuring fair outcomes in difficult situations.

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