Should You Remain in Your Marital Home?

The family home is one piece of property over which a divorcing couple will often battle. In addition to the cash value of the home, the sentimental value may influence both party’s desire to keep the home. However, once the divorce is finalized and tempers have cooled, it is always a good idea to think about the pros and cons associated with maintaining your recently won residence. The decision to remain in the marital home after the divorce is over could significantly influence your personal and financial future.

Can You Afford it?

Affordability should be your primary concern when deciding if you should stay in your marital home after a divorce. Once the divorce is finalized, it is normal for an adult to be short on cash and overwhelmed by the responsibility of managing a household with only one income. If you were a stay-at-home parent who is awarded spousal support or a parent now receiving child support, your available funds are often finite and depend solely on whether or not your former spouse makes timely payments. Before committing to staying in your home, calculate how much money you will need to pay your mortgage, utilities, purchase necessities, and keep your household solvent without aid.

Are There Tax Benefits?

Owning a home usually means that you are able to receive multiple tax benefits that are not available to renters. After a divorce, the mortgage interest, property taxes, and other property-related tax write offs can be beneficial. If you decide to sell your home and move into an apartment or into a home with other friends or family, those potential tax benefits are lost.  Remember, a house is an asset that provides more tax benefits than most other purchases, and after your divorce, you will be the sole beneficiary of those tax perks.

What are the Alternatives?

The most important thing to ask yourself before initiating the sale of your house is what are the alternatives to living in your current home. Will you be able to afford another house? Will you need to move into an apartment? Though downgrading is usually a good way to save money, it is possible that the area you want to live in does not have any desirable properties that are less expensive than your current residence. The last thing you want to do is move into a less attractive residence that gives you no financial benefits.

Talk to an Attorney

Before making any choices regarding what assets you want to keep during a divorce based on your post-divorce plans, it is best to talk to an attorney. An equitable distribution attorney will help you review marital assets and decide what property is beneficial to you in the long run. The attorneys at Lawrence Law Office understand how overwhelming asset division is and we are prepared to help you make choices that will set you up for a comfortable future. Contact our conveniently located Columbus, Ohio office today to schedule a consultation so that we can discuss your needs.

How Marital Property is Divided

For property to be fairly divided, the court must look at a number of different factors and make a determination on a case-by-case basis. Once a court makes a determination of what property is separate property and what is marital, then it must divide up the marital property based on state law. In Ohio, the court will divide the property based on what is fair, which may not always be equal to both spouses, according to the laws of community property states. The court will determine whether there needs to be a distributive award, meaning one spouse pays the other for the value of the asset or property, or whether an equitable division would be possible.

Many assets are relatively easy to evaluate to determine their worth, but for those assets that are unique, have sentimental value, or have been passed down over time to an individual, determining their value might be more difficult. If a couple has assets that are unique, they can seek the assistance of a qualified expert to determine the value. A qualified expert will evaluate the asset and give an estimated worth to the court to divide. Other assets such as pensions or ownership interest may need the assistance of a financial expert who can assess the history and provide a value.

When dividing the property, the court assesses factors such as the liabilities and debts of the spouses as well as their assets and entitlements, whether either spouse seeks to stay in the home as well as how easy it will be to sell depending on the market and what their estimated compensation may be, the cost of a sale as well as any property division voluntarily made in separation agreements. Additionally, the court will determine any significant financial misconduct impacting the couple, as well as significant losses resulting from gambling, illegal drug use, infidelity, or failure to disclose an asset during the divorce proceeding. It is also important to note that Ohio does not consider assets owned before the marriage, gifts made to one spouse, inheritance, or personal injury proceeds as includable in marital property.

Going Through a Divorce?

We want to make sure property division is fair and equitable for you and that you are able to get what you deserve. If you or someone you know is struggling to divide their assets or property in their divorce, we can help. Do not hesitate to call the legal team at Lawrence Law Office today at (614) 228 – 3664 for a consultation or email us using our website or lawrence@lawrencelawoffice.com. Dividing property does not have to be a painful process with us.

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