Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “Is there some property that the judge cannot divide?”
A common problem in divorce concerns what will happen to the house. One common problem that many couples discover is that if one person receives the house in the divorce and does not refinance this can wreak havoc on all parties, potentially preventing the other spouse from applying for a mortgage due to the additional debt and also linking the two together in the event that the person responsible for paying for the house defaults.
To help solve this problem, divorcing couples should carefully map out their property-division plans, paying special attention to what happens with the marital home. The following are some tips for what to do if you’re facing similar problems.
1. What if both parties want to sell the house?
This is the most straightforward of all possibilities. No bickering or complicated refinancing, the couple simply needs to agree on a listing price, a schedule for showing the home and then a plan to divide any expenses involved in the sale of the house. Once the home has been sold, the couple needs to distribute the proceeds in whatever way was agreed on in the divorce decree. If the house sells at a loss, then things can get messy as both parties are eager to move on from the money pit. However, careful planning can ensure that language is written into your divorce agreement saying that any profits and losses are split following a sale.
2. What if one person wants the house?
In this case the person who wants the home should try to refinance it on their own. This is made easier if the house has equity. If so, then the home can be refinanced and the spouse who keeps the home can simply pay an equalization payment to the other party, giving them their half of the equity in the property. If the person keeping the house cannot afford to refinance on their own then a serious conversation needs to be had about whether it’s worth the risk to allow both parties to keep their name on the place or, instead, whether the property should simply be sold.
3. What if you don’t agree?
This is where things can get messy. If one person wants the house and the other wants to sell then the courts may have to get involved. It can sometimes be impossible for two warring individuals to reach an agreement, in which case you need to rely on your North Carolina family law attorney or your local family law judge to help reach an equitable solution.
If you find yourself facing a complicated family matter then you need the help of experienced family law attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce.
About the Author:
Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member with Arnold & Smith, PLLC where he focuses his practice on most aspects of Family law including: divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, and equitable distribution. Mr. Arnold is an experienced trial attorney who has tried jury and bench trials in both North Carolina District Court and North Carolina Superior Court.
Mr. Arnold grew up in Charlotte, graduating from Providence Senior High School and continued his education at Belmont Abbey College on a basketball scholarship. After graduating cum laude he attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship. In his spare time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time on the North Carolina Coast with his wife and three young children: two daughters and one son.
“Splitsville? How to divide property in a divorce,” by Geoff Williams, published at Reuters.com.
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