When spouses decide to end their marriage, they must divide their marital property, including assets and debts. In North Carolina and elsewhere, property division is often one of the most contentious parts of the divorce process. If the couple owns a home, it may be the most valuable marital asset. There are a few different ways to address what will happen to the family home after the divorce.
Buying out the other party
If one spouse wants to keep the home, he or she may negotiate to buy out the interest of the other spouse in the home. The purchasing spouse will usually need to refinance any existing mortgage loan to come up with the cash to buy out the other party. Upon payment, the other spouse would be removed from the title and mortgage.
Sell the house
Sometimes, neither spouse is interested in keeping the house, or neither party can afford to buy out the other. In this case, it could be best to sell the home and split the proceeds. However, before the proceeds can be divided, the mortgage or any equity lines must be paid as well as brokers’ fees and other expenses of sale.
If financially feasible, the spouses may opt to continue co-owning the home for a period of time after the divorce. The couple could agree on this option, or it could be ordered by the court in certain scenarios. The judge may consider doing this when one parent has primary physical custody of the children and staying in the family home provides needed stability for the kids.
Dividing property such as the family home, is one of the most difficult parts of divorce. Although the decision of what’s fair in a divorcing couple’s case will be up to the judge, North Carolina laws provide some guidelines. Since property division laws can be confusing, it is recommended to seek guidance from an experienced legal professional. A knowledgeable family law attorney can help a client navigate the property division process successfully.