3 things to know about real estate and divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2022 | Divorce

You might be one of many people in New York who owned a home before your wedding day. Then again, you and your spouse might have made an adventure of finding your dream house together and making a purchase after you had tied the knot. Whether it’s been less than 10 years since then or several decades have past, if you have decided to file for divorce, there are several real estate issues you’ll want to keep in mind, especially if you still owe on your mortgage.  

If you have children, you might be considering trying to keep your house after your divorce. Many parents do this in order to help their kids retain a sense of normalcy, routine and structure as they come to terms with the changes divorce has brought to their lives. Whether you choose this path or want to sell your home, it’s important for you to understand the implications your decisions may have on your divorce settlement. 

Is it best to sell before or after the divorce is finalized? 

If you plan on selling your home, it might be best to complete the transaction before you and your spouse finalize your divorce. If you and your spouse still owe on your mortgage, the liability will be split between you during property division proceedings. This is why many couples choose to sell their home before they agree to a settlement. The proceeds of the sale simply become assets, which helps simplify the property division process.  

Removing a name from a deed doesn’t negate mortgage responsibilities 

If you or your ex plans on staying in your house after your divorce, you might be thinking about having one of the names removed from your deed. It’s critical that you understand that removing a name from a deed does not remove the person’s liability toward the mortgage debt. If your spouse’s name is removed from the deed, he or she is still obligated to make his or her share of payments until the mortgage is paid in full.  

Do you have separate ownership established on your home? 

If you owned your home before your wedding day, you hopefully signed a prenuptial agreement to retain separate ownership and protect your assets. A validly signed prenuptial agreement is legally enforceable in a divorce. If you have real estate concerns in conjunction with questions as to whether a prenuptial agreement was, in fact, valid, you can challenge the validity of the document in court.  

Real estate issues that extend beyond your primary residence 

If you and your spouse are New York snowbirds, meaning you have vacation property in a southern state where you spend the winter months, issues regarding that property or time-shares or other real estate may be a central focus of property division proceedings in your divorce. 

Such issues can be complex and difficult to resolve if a dispute arises. To keep stress to a minimum, it is helpful t consult with someone who is experienced in resolving real estate issues that arise in a divorce. Protecting your financial interests should always be a top priority.