If you owned your home before marrying your spouse, then you may have an easier time retaining your rights to the property than spouses who jointly purchased a marital home. The equitable property laws of Georgia make it difficult to truly “divide” your marital home if it was purchased jointly during your marriage, but that does not mean that property division needs to be complicated. During a divorce, property buyout, when one spouse pays for the other’s share of property, is common.
The Marital Home and Divorce: Property Buyout
The marital home is one of the largest assets you will have to make a decision on when dividing property during your divorce. According to Georgia property laws, the home will have to be divided somehow so that each party gets a fair share of the asset. Because the home cannot be physically divided, it must be divided legally.
One option you have to handle the division of your home during divorce is property buyout. In this situation, one spouse will purchase the other spouse’s share of the home in order to keep the property in his or her possession. A property buyout is not a true “purchase” of the property; therefore, a realtor is typically not involved. In order to get a proper valuation of the property, an appraisal is often necessary.
Property buyout is also often an attempt by the spouse selling his or her share to get out of paying alimony. This can be a critical point of negotiation in your divorce settlement, and it is wise to consult your divorce attorney before agreeing to this type of arrangement.
Refinancing Your Home During Divorce Property Division
If you jointly signed off on your home mortgage, refinancing may be a good opportunity to help with the division of your property. If you are considering a property buyout, you typically will apply for a new mortgage in your name alone. This gives you an opportunity to look for a better rate, which is especially important because your new loan will need to pay off the existing mortgage and allow for paying your ex-spouse for his or her share of the property.
Who Is Best Suited for a Divorce Property Buyout
Many divorcing couples with children come to the agreement that the parent with primary custody should keep the house as a point of stability for the children. This is especially important for school-aged children because moving to a new permanent home may result in changing school districts and cause more disruption in their lives.
Another consideration is which spouse is more financially stable and has the better credit history to be able to afford the loan necessary for the property buyout. While agreements can be made to pay off the other spouse’s share of the home over time, these arrangements can complicate post-divorce matters and are typically not suggested.
If neither spouse is suited for buying out the other spouse, selling the home completely and splitting the proceeds may be the best option. If one spouse is adamant about keeping the marital home, negotiations of other marital assets or spousal support amounts may be used to bargain for possession of the house.
First Step: Talking With a Divorce Attorney
Without proper evaluation of your property value, investigation of the financial status of the home and considerations of each spouse’s means to buy the other out, divorce property buyout can be difficult and frustrating. Divorce attorney David Ward can get you in touch with the right professionals to make your property buyout easier and safer for your interests. Call 770-383-1973 or fill out our contact form to schedule your REAL Case Analysis.