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Trying to figure out what to do with the family home isn't easy

You may not live in Manhattan, but the average real estate prices here in East Aurora still made it a challenge to find a house you could afford that had everything you wanted and needed to make a home. After years of living there, you may have finally gotten it the way you want it.

Then, recently, you decided to end your marriage. You and your future former spouse probably want to remain amicable, so you are attempting to negotiate your own settlement. When the subject of the house comes up, neither of you quite knows what to do.

Know your options

Understanding what options you may have could make the decision easier for both of you. When it comes to the family home, you may want to keep the following in mind:

  • First, does the house fall under marital property or separate property? Marital property generally consists of any assets acquired during the marriage while separate property consists of assets owned prior to the marriage by either party.
  • Did you purchase it during the marriage? Did one of you buy it prior to the wedding, but the two of you used marital funds to improve, repair or pay for it?
  • Did you execute a prenuptial agreement before you walked down the aisle that makes provisions for the division of the home in the event of a divorce?
  • If you want the home, you may consider exchanging one or more other assets of the same approximate value with your future ex-spouse in order to make an equitable trade.
  • You may also be able to give the other party a cash payment for his or her portion of the fair market value of the home.
  • You could sell the home and split the proceeds. Often this result would occur in court if the two of you can't agree on a better solution.
  • You could continue to own the home together. If you choose this option, you should enter into a separate, detailed agreement regarding all relevant issues such as payment, maintenance costs, taxes and more.

No matter what option you choose, you should probably hire an appraiser to value the home. This way, each of you knows that you receive a fair value for your portion of the home. This could prevent disagreements that could send you to court for a resolution. No matter what option you choose, document your agreement with as much specificity as possible to avoid future confrontations.

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Hall, Ricketts, Schuller & Gurbacki, P.C.
471 Main Street
East Aurora, NY 14052

Phone: 716-243-3515
Fax: 716-652-2058
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