When a couple who owns a home divorces, they face the difficult decision of what to do with the home itself. In many cases, a couple will sell their home to get out from under the mortgage and make a clean break. Alternatively, one spouse may want to keep the home even though both spouses can claim a portion of its value.
The simplest way to address this issue is usually to sell the marital home and split the resulting profits or losses equally. In this scenario, the couple places the home on the market, accepts the best offer they receive and treat the remaining profit or loss as they would the rest of their property during property division. Because California is a community property state, this is often the easiest way to satisfy community property guidelines, which require equal divisions of property.
If this does not fit the needs of the couple, there are other options. If the couple has children, for instance, then the couple may choose to have the parent who keeps the home refinance it and compensate the other parent with other assets or by setting up a payment plan to deliver an equal division of assets over time. The good news is that all the issues that a divorce can produce do have legal solutions. The more complicated news is that the legal solutions available are not always ideal for couples who are merely trying to dissolve their marriage and move on with their lives.
If you face a complicated divorce, especially one that involves real estate in California, it is wise to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that your rights and priorities remain secure throughout the divorce and beyond. Be sure to seek out all the help you need to achieve your divorce goals and keep the process fair and civil.
Source: The Huffington Post, "How to Split Home Value in a Divorce," Holden Lewis, accessed Dec. 29, 2017