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Considerations for keeping the home in a divorce

| Oct 8, 2019 | Divorce

If couples in Maryland who are getting a divorce own a home, they will need to decide how to divide it along with the rest of their joint property. They may sell it, or one person might decide to keep it. In the latter case, it is necessary to determine how much equity each person has in the house and what the market value of the house is.

An appraiser will consider what similar homes sold for and the home’s condition among other factors. If the couple cannot agree on an appraiser, each person may want to hire a separate one. The valuations may be similar, or they may be significantly different. In the latter case, they might need to then hire a third appraiser. A home inspector can check for any issues that the couple may be unaware of that should be fixed before the house is solely the property of one person. The cost of repairs could be subtracted from the buyer’s share of the house, or they could be addressed in another way.

The buyer may need to refinance the home, which could lead to a higher mortgage. A quitclaim deed or other method could take the other spouse’s name off the title. The buyer may want to allow the other spouse to keep another asset in exchange for the home.

The process of property division can be both complex and emotional. Some people may be particularly attached to the marital home, but it is important to determine whether keeping it makes financial sense. A divorce can often leave one or both individuals in a worse financial position than they were in during the marriage. A more liquid asset, such as a savings account, might be more useful than a home, particularly if the person will struggle to maintain it on one income.

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