Bob Adelfson - Divorce Book

If one spouse is in a financial position to remain in the home, it may be easier to buy out the other’s share of the property, which would entail refinancing the home. The real challenges come in working out the details. There could be disagreement about the selling price or the appraisal value. Or, the equitable division of the property may not meet expectations. Other questions that arise include the possibility of giving up marital property rights in exchange for other assets like investments. The ex-spouse may lose out on future appreciation of the house. It is crucial to know that questions like these will arise when it comes to the division of property in a buyout situation and that you have to be prepared to address them. Refinancing the home in one spouse’s name means not only settling the previous loan but paying the selling spouse their portion of the buyout. As an example, if the principal balance owed is $100,000 and there’s another $100,000 in equity, one- half of the equity ($50,000) would be due the selling spouse and $100,000 would be required to pay off the principal. The refinanced loan would have to be at least $150,000. If the house value has appreciated, who is entitled to the equity? What if the property is appraised lower than the current loan? All scenarios must be considered before deciding on a buyout. Again, knowing your financial standing before filing for a divorce is paramount.


If you or your spouse want to keep the house and buy out the other, but need time before this can be accomplished, co- ownership is a possibility. However, maintaining a clear channel of communication with the ex-spouse is a major part of co- ownership and one of the most difficult to achieve because it requires a lot of mutual trust, something that is typically lacking in most divorce scenarios.


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