Dividing Real Estate in Your Divorce
Initiating a divorce is always a difficult decision and an even more difficult process to navigate and complete. One of the most contested portions of any divorce process can be the classification and division of marital property, especially real estate. In most states, the court requires all property to be classified as either separate or community, with the community property being divided equitably.
There are many states in the U.S. which have divorce laws that require the equitable division of property. This does not always mean the property, including real estate, will be divided evenly or equally. A divorce judge will commonly take into consideration the length of the marriage, the combined assets and debts of both spouses and make a determination regarding who should live in the family home after the divorce. Generally, the spouse who is awarded full custody of any children will maintain residence in the family home.
If a judge is unable to make a determination which spouse should live in the family home, or there are no children involved, the judge may order a sale of the real estate. If one spouse provided the down payment for the property, generally the judge will award that spouse the amount of the down payment in full. This will usually be considered separate property and the spouse who provided the down payment may even receive an additional percentage of the appreciated equity in the property. This may not seem fair to the spouse who did not provide the down payment; however, it is often seen by the court as a reimbursement for separate property and is not considered divisible community property.
The courts and justice system are in place to make sure, where laws allow, the division of real estate and other community property is fair and equitable. Once the marital property is classified and divided equitably, the rest of the process can be a bit easier to complete. If divorcing couples are agreeable, and there is no contest to the proposed division of the property, the process can often be completed with help from an online divorce document service without the expense of a divorce attorney. If there is more than one piece of real estate or there is a business to divide between divorcing spouses, it can be a good idea to consult a legal professional before you try to wind your way through the laws and courts on your own.