One of the biggest issues that comes up in divorce is what to do with the house that is, for many married couples, the biggest shared asset they have. One option, of course, is to put the house up for sale and then split the proceeds once it sells. Another option, if a couple’s assets are substantial enough, is for one person to retain the house and the other to get compensation via asset division. But what about a couple sharing a home after they get divorced — is that possible?
It certainly is, though there are questions about whether that’s workable or a good idea. Let’s say that one person in a marriage can’t afford to buy the other one out, and there’s another good reason to retain the house. Let’s say, for example, that the children are in high school and want to stay in their current house to stay at that school until they reach graduation. In that case, it might be in the couple’s best interest to retain home ownership for at least that time frame.
We’ve talked about an arrangement for couples getting divorced called nesting or birdnesting, in which the couple maintains a second residence – usually a small apartment – and each person rotates between the house and the second residence, with the kids staying in the house full-time. It’s certainly possible to keep that going past a divorce, but that can be really difficult for people who are trying to move beyond their divorces. You would have to really get along with your ex to make that work!
It’s also possible to just have the house stay in one person’s name for a period of time before you put it up for sale and split the proceeds. It’s quite possible, depending on when you bought your home, that you might already stand to make a good deal of money on your home, but could make more if you wait a bit longer. Or, alternately, you could rent it out and downsize to something smaller and more affordable until the market’s more to your liking for a sale.
If you’re thinking about that kind of arrangement, it’s a good idea for you to get a Deed of Trust to Secure Assumption, which means, if your ex has promised to pay the mortgage in both your names but doesn’t, that you have the opportunity to foreclose before the bank does and take over the mortgage. If nothing else, it incentivizes your ex to pay the mortgage and maintain the house, or to put it on the market when it no longer becomes viable to maintain mortgage payments.
If you need assistance in drawing up a Deed of Trust to Secure Assumption, or anything else pertaining to your home as an asset in your divorce, talk to me or one of my fellow lawyers at the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance. We have significant experience with all kinds of divorces, and we can do the type of divorce settlement process that’s best for you, be it litigation, collaborative divorce, mediation, or overseeing a negotiation between a couple that just needs a little help getting over the line.