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Property division: let your head rule your heart

Many people have fond memories of their childhood home. For California couples who are facing divorce, the family home is often sold as part of the property division, and this is usually the least complicated option. Any children affected by the marriage breakdown may find it difficult initially to adjust to new living arrangements; however, there may be a variety of reasons why one spouse might choose to remain in the marital home.

When children are involved, it may be that the parent with primary custody does not wish to uproot the children. Changing where one resides can also mean a change in school district. Whether for reasons of practicality, or simply from sentimental attachment, there are several things that one may need to consider in deciding whether keeping the house is a feasible option.

First and foremost, a property valuation will have to be carried out in order to establish whether one spouse will be able to afford to buy out the other. If there is a mortgage on the property in joint names, the bank will have to be advised of the change, and there may be conditions that must be fulfilled. Depending on how this credit situation is handled, it may affect one's ability to rent – or buy – in the future.

Whatever the desired outcome, it pays to give serious consideration to all the pros and cons relating to property division. California residents who exercise caution at this stage may find that it prevents more serious financial issues further down the line. Seeking the appropriate advice according to one's personal circumstances will provide the best chance of moving forward in a positive manner.

Source: hmbreview.com, "Consider how divorce can affect home situation", Steven Hyman, May 22, 2016

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