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Staying or selling: what happens to a house in a divorce?

Spokane residents who are in the middle of a divorce know that there are a lot of hard questions to answer and difficult decisions to make. Depending on the current relationship you have with your future ex-spouse, the division of assets can be relatively smooth process, or in some cases, it can quickly turn into a lengthy battle. One of the largest assets is typically a marital home, and many couples struggle with whom, if anyone will retain the property, or if it should be sold, with profits divided accordingly.

With divorce rates holding steady, it has become common for real estate agents to be brought into the middle of ugly divorces. For many agents, divorcing couples can prove to be quite a challenge, especially when they are not on speaking terms. Realtors represent and show the couple's home, must find ways to communicate with both owners, even in cases where the owners themselves are not talking or in severe cases where restraining orders are in place. In some real estate offices, it is common to find agents that specialize in divorce cases, and many realtors believe it is a quiet niche market, that few like to advertise, but which services are commonly needed.

In most cases, the house is the largest asset that a couple will have to deal with. It can be emotionally difficult for each spouse to leave a home because of the memories associated the house. Furthermore, coming to a consensus on who will keep the house or whether to sell it can create a great many arguments. Additionally, the current housing market can result in money being tied up for an extended period while spouses attempt to sell the property. It is no surprise then that there are a great many challenges to overcome when dealing with the division of a marital home.

Florida is in a jurisdiction where divorce courts utilize an equitable distribution means of dividing assets. Rather than simply divide the property in half, a judge will make a decision on what is equitable by evaluating the position of each spouse, and then divide the property as the court sees fit. Many times, the circumstances of the situation will dictate who will get the house. There are numerous considerations, including if there are children and how or who purchased the home.

Divorce can be very difficult and can bring a great number of changes. Whether you want to stay in your house, or would like to sell the home, an attorney can help evaluate your case and advise you regarding your legal rights and the options available to you.

Source: New York Times, "After the Breakup, They Help Sell the House," April 1, 2013

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