The family home is the asset that most often causes controversy, both before and after a divorce.It is usually the most valuable asset to divide in a divorce.
Custodial parents may want to hang onto the home for the sake of the children. Its division is usually fraught with controversy—it may be difficult to value, is not readily converted to cash, costs a substantial amount of money to maintain and has implications for federal and state tax liability.
The timing of the sale of the home and the division of the net proceeds is also crucial. Both events frequently occur some time after the divorce. Couples seldom plan as well as they should for the payment of household maintenance and upkeep during the divorce proceedings.
As if not all those things were enough, your family’s emotional attachment to their real estate, in particular a family or vacation home can cause you to make an irrational or poor decision at the time of the divorce. Your family may be haunted by that decision for years after your divorce. You need to think, and possibly make lists, about the following:
• What property you want to receive after the divorce?
• What property you want your spouse to receive after the divorce?
• What property do you believe is yours and should not be divided by the court?
• What property do you believe belongs to your spouse and that should not be divided by the court?
The answers to these questions and others can help you avoid or plan for problems associated with your real estate. At first glance, the family home appears to be the easiest asset to identify and describe. Your ideas about ownership interest in your home and other real estate needs to be carefully thought through.