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The marital home and a divorce

A divorce, it is said, makes two households out of one. In any divorce where there is a house, as opposed to an apartment or rental property, a significant discussion should occur over what should be done with the family home. One generally cannot make a single home into two houses (painting a yellow line done the middle rarely works), although in the post-real estate market collapse in Oklahoma and nationwide, it may be necessary to do something like that.

Traditionally, the home was the largest single asset in the divorce, and prior to 2008, the home may have possessed substantial equity. This meant one party might want to “buy out” the other party and assume full ownership of the property. Today, the situation may be that the home may be “underwater,” with a mortgage worth more than the potential sale price. This means that if it were sold, instead of dividing the equity from the sale, the couple could be dividing the deficiency balance.

Even if there is equity in the property, you need to have an honest discussion with your divorce attorney on this subject and decide whether it makes sense. After a divorce, you are supporting two household on the same income.

You have to refinance to remove your former spouse from the mortgage and the title. If you have not worked for a long time, or only work part-time, it may be impossible to secure refinancing to enable you to purchase the home.

If you have a comparable income to your spouse, it still may not be economically wise to take on the obligations that are involved with homeownership. The questions all need to be discussed and answered before your property settlement is finalized.