Who Keeps the House in a Divorce?
Unfortunately, when you are going through a divorce and hoping to keep the house, you won't feel amazement. Instead, you'll feel dread as you try to figure out how you will afford to buy out your spouse's share of the equity and refinance the mortgage in your name alone.
These days most of my clients need to sell their home as they finalize their divorce as the house represents the largest or second largest asset they own. However, there are other options spouses can consider, which Los Angeles mediator Barry Davis explains in this short video:
Co-Owing the House with Your Ex-Spouse
Sometimes I will suggest to a client (or clients if I am acting as a neutral financial analyst to both parties) that they co-own the house for some period of time before they sell it. This may be an attractive option for parents of a teenager if college is not far off. It may also give one spouse time to work towards qualifying to refinance the mortgage and also ensure he/she/they has enough income to afford the mortgage payment, property tax and all the extra costs of being a homeowner vs. being a renter.
Mr. Davis provides excellent tips on what to include in a marital settlement agreement to make co-ownership workable.
Laurie Itkin is a financial advisor, wealth manager, and certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). She is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, Every Woman Should Know Her Options: Invest Your Way to Financial Empowerment. In both 2017 and 2018 Investopedia named Ms. Itkin one of the top 100 most influential financial advisors in the country. Through her financial consulting company, The Options Lady, she provides divorce-related financial planning and analysis to individuals and couples throughout all stages of the divorce process, with a specialty in California divorces. She is a national board member of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners (ADFP) and is certified by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA). Laurie has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and San Diego Union Tribune. She has also appeared as a guest on broadcast news channels.