If you are contemplating a divorce or are already a party to a divorce proceeding, and you can’t agree on who will get the marital home, or you know that neither of you will be able to afford the marital home after a divorce, the best course of action may be the sale of your home. The sale of your home to your spouse may also be the most effective way to deal with the real property of your marriage.
First, determine whether there is any equity in your home, as well as whether there is a market for your home. If you borrowed heavily against your home before the recession hit, there is a good chance that your mortgage is “upside down” or “underwater,” meaning the amount you owe the bank is more than the price you can get for the home. If that is the case, you generally have two options: seek to refinance your home so that it is no longer underwater, or seek permission from your lender for a “short sale” of your home, where the bank will let you sell for market value, even if it is less than what you owe (and will forgive the balance).
You may want to consider holding the property jointly after the divorce, until such time as the market turns around, but this is an extremely risky proposition. You will want to make certain that your lawyer puts provisions in place that protect your interests.
If your home is not underwater, your first step should be to get a professional appraisal of its value. Your attorney should be able to refer you to a qualified appraiser. You will want to work closely with your divorce lawyer, so that the profit from the sale of the home is accurately reflected in any property settlement. If you are transferring the marital home to your spouse as part of the divorce settlement, you want to make certain that new mortgage or financing agreements are drafted that name only your spouse as being obligated on payment. There should be a closing, just as in any other type of real estate transaction.
Contact Morgenstern & Rochester
At Morgenstern & Rochester, our two partners have almost 50 years of combined family law experience. We are a boutique family law firm that takes a hands-on approach. When you hire us, you will always work directly with one of our partners, never with an inexperienced associate or a paralegal.
To arrange a confidential meeting with an experienced Cherry Hill family law attorney, contact us online or call our office at 856-489-6200.