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How couples can divide their house during divorce

| Jan 15, 2020 | Divorce |

Couples usually divide a variety of assets in a divorce. One of the most challenging ones to split can be a home they purchased together.

For many South Carolina spouses, a home can provide a sense of security, privacy and affluence. These factors can make it difficult for either spouse to give up.

But the circumstances involved in a couple’s divorce could have a significant impact on who gets it. As South Carolina is an equitable distribution state, the division of marital assets are typically determined by a judge unless otherwise stated in a prenup. For instance, if both spouses purchased the home together during the marriage, the spouse that gets primary custody of the kids could claim ownership of the property. That’s because a judge may believe the primary caretakers should raise the kids in a familiar place.

If this happens, ex-spouses often need to figure out how they will pay off the home now that they are no longer together. In many instances, couples who are splitting a home will go through what’s called a buyout process.

Factors involved in splitting a home

After couples figure out who gets the house, there are a few things they should consider before making a final deal:

  • Figure out the home’s value: During the home division process, spouses may want to figure out how much it’s worth at the time of their split. The home’s overall value can get determined by doing some market research, speaking with a realtor, examining the current condition of the home and making sure there aren’t any liens on the property. If the homeowning spouse discovers any issues, they may be able to negotiate a lower buying price.
  • Establish buyout costs: Displaced spouses may not walk away from the home without receiving some form of compensation. In most cases, buyouts are included as part of the divorce settlement and may vary depending on how well couples can work together. If the spouse with the home decides to sell it, they may have to pay the displaced spouse a portion of its equity.
  • Determine the necessity of financial support: If the spouse keeping the home can’t keep up with full mortgage payments, they may want to look for financial assistance. Depending on the circumstances, if the homeowning spouse cannot maintain the same standard of living they did during the marriage, they may be able to request alimony or child support payments. In some cases, this extra money can help make up the difference.

The division process can be stressful

The division and buyout process can be a challenging part of separating. But while it can be stressful, ex-spouses need to devise a plan sooner rather than later. That way, they can shift their focus to reforming their lives and moving on to bigger and better things.