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Dealing with the family home in a divorce

Post-holiday divorces are common in Texas, and one of the first decisions that often needs to be made is what to do with the family home. The situation can be stressful, so it can be helpful to have neutral, non-emotional information on hand when making the decision.

First, couples need to decide if one of them wants to continue living in the house or if it is better to sell the property and divide the proceeds. Things to consider when choosing whether to stay in the house include personal preferences and finances. For instance, will the remaining spouse feel comforted by the familiar surroundings or haunted by unpleasant memories? Will they be able to afford the old home on a post-divorce budget? How much house can the departing spouse afford to buy?

If couples decide to sell the house and split the proceeds, it is essential to maximize the home's selling price. A good real estate agent should be consulted. If one spouse buys the other out, the mortgage will have to be refinanced. . Some divorcing spouses choose to retain joint ownership even though only one spouse will live there. This can be easier in the short term, but it may cause tax considerations in the future.

Individuals facing the end of a marriage may benefit by seeking the advice of an attorney before selling their home or making any other big decisions. An attorney could help negotiate favorable agreements on the division of property and other important divorce legal issues, including alimony, child support and child custody.

Source: Valley News, "How to avoid costly housing mistakes in a divorce," Mike Mason, Jan. 28, 2017

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