Susan E. Kamman & Associates
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Your options for the home during divorce

Your spouse wants to get a divorce, and you know it is going to get complicated. You both have significant assets, from bank accounts to investments to life insurance policies to a dream home you bought for well more than most people in your peer group can afford to pay.

As the divorce draws near, you really worry about the loss of control. You worry about feeling like your life is falling apart. It's about more than the marriage. Are you going to lose everything you have worked so hard for?

To make this process easier, start tackling these issues one at a time. Here are a few options you may want to consider with your home:

Divide the profit after a sale

This may be the last thing you want to do if you love that house, but you must at least consider it. It's a serious asset. Depending on the market and how much you paid off already, you could stand to make tens of thousands of dollars -- at least -- by selling it. What if that profit is $200,000? Having an extra $100,000 may not hurt as you look for a new house. Plus, this is perhaps the easiest way to divide the value of a home between two people.

Paying your spouse for the other half

If you want to keep the house, you probably need to refinance it in your name. Take your spouse off of the mortgage and the deed. Buy it yourself. While doing this, though, your spouse essentially gives up half of the value of the home. You likely need to pay him or her to buy out this percentage during the divorce. You can do this by taking an unequal share of other assets, or, if you have the cash on hand, paying your spouse directly.

Take turns

This is admittedly rare, but complex situations can make it possible. You could keep the home, split the monthly mortgage payments, and share it. You live there for a week, then your spouse does, for example.

This creates a lot of extra expenses. You both need a home or apartment to live in on the off weeks. However, you both get to enjoy the house. This is also most popular with couples who have children. Using the house while you have custody of the kids means they do not have to move or get transferred back and forth. Mom and Dad just move in and out.

Your options

You have a lot to think about as you approach divorce. Take your time. Consider all of your options. Make sure you understand your rights.

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