What Should I Consider When Determining How to Value My Marital Home?

A gavel and a small model house sit on top of an open book.

When engaged in a divorce, what may happen to the home you established with your spouse is a common concern. However, before making a decision on what you would like to happen to your marital home there are many items to consider. Consult with your Pensacola Divorce Attorney as to the options available to you regarding the status of your marital home and the division of the same.

Many believe that when going through a divorce there are only two options regarding the home shared by the couple; sell or one spouse retain the home. However, there are many other items to consider when deciding how to divide the marital home. For instance, a number of decisions will be based upon the financial encumbrance of the home. If the home is owned outright there will be no outstanding mortgage payments necessary which can significantly decrease a spouse’s monthly expenses, in turn decreasing other financial needs such as alimony while increasing the value of the asset. Therefore, if you are anticipating having to pay alimony, you may want to consider negotiating an agreement where your spouse remains in the home as to decrease the expenses of the spouse, in turn decreasing their need of financial support.

However, if a home does have an outstanding mortgage the couple will need to consider the balance of the mortgage in comparison to the value of the home. If they are “upside down” on the mortgage the sale of the home is unlikely to cover the outstanding mortgage, no proceeds will be available to divide between the spouse, and they will instead be left with a debt that will need to be repaid. This can be a complicated financial burden as retention of the home may be the fiscally responsible option but the spouse who retains the home will likely need to be awarded other assets to equate the debt of the home. Further, if there is an outstanding mortgage, and you wish to retain the home you will need to consider if your income will be able to support the payments and upkeep of the home without the financial assistance of your spouse. If not, you may want to consider the option of selling the home.

Retention of the home may also be an option for a spouse who has no other income and wishes to use the home as a business venture. Many spouses retain marital homes for additional income through renting out the property. This could be beneficial to both spouses as the home may be used by a spouse as income which may decrease a necessary alimony award, as well as cover the expenses the home requires on a monthly basis.

Non-economic factors may also need to be considered when determining division. For instance, if there are minor children of the marriage, the value of providing consistency for the children by remaining in the home can outweigh other financial factors. Further, if the home is within a particular school district where the children can remain in the same educational system, or is close to family and others who assist in childcare, the home’s value may increase for a spouse.

The decision regarding the division of a couple’s marital home can be filled with a great deal of emotion. However, during this emotional process it is important to consult with an experienced Pensacola Divorce Attorney to ensure you understand the other aspects you may need to take into consideration when determining the proper method of division of such a large asset. Contact an experienced Pensacola Divorce Attorney today to ensure you are properly informed as to your rights and necessary details of the decision of your martial home during your divorce.

Speaking to an attorney at our Pensacola office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 850-999-5857 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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