singularly carry the full financial burden, and may not be in a position to buy out the other. Preventing default on the mortgage is the most common reason divorcing couples choose to sell the family home. Monies budgeted for the upkeep of the home, property taxes, home insurance, home security, and house payments may or may not still be available when couples split. Couples who sell their homes before divorce have the advantage of the capital gains tax exclusion of $500,000. A divorced person selling a home receives 50% of the tax break. There are other tax benefits available when substantial equity growth has occurred over years of owning a home. These are best discussed with your lawyer or tax professional to ensure you make financially sound decisions about when to sell your home.
THE EMOTIONAL SIDE OF SELLING YOUR HOME
If the marital home has been the hub of happiness and family life, it may turn out to be a constant reminder of what it once was and is no more. The good memories the home represents are now tainted by the unhappiness and pain of divorce. No matter how strong sentimental value may be, often the best option is to sell the house and move on. That way, both spouses get some money to make a clean break and start fresh. Once you’ve decided to sell, there is a long “to-do” list, a list that is difficult under the best of circumstances and only made more difficult with the added emotion of divorce.
The liability of keeping a home may be the best reason to sell. There are various ways to keep a house with one spouse remaining and the other departing, but they all carry risks and challenges. An equity buyout occurs when one spouse keeps the asset, and, in exchange, compensates the other for his or her share of the equity.
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