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Considerations when dividing the house in a divorce

It isn’t easy to divide a household full of stuff when you get divorced. Some of it has monetary value, some of it sentimental. Either way, it’s hard.

But it’s even tougher to divide the house.

Memories fill the place. Kids fill the house. And then there’s New York’s pricey real estate market, which makes it especially hard to think about two parents being able to provide a similar environment for their children in two separate homes.

Still, the decision must be made. Here are the main choices you have.

Buy out your ex-spouse. Under this scenario, one of you can pay the other to retain the house. Consult the experts to determine the market value of your home to set a realistic price. Take the estimated value and subtract what you owe on the mortgage, plus any fees that would be involved if you sold, to determine just what your proceeds would be if you sold the house now. Divide that in half to determine the buyout amount. If you choose this approach, it is best for the spouse who is staying to take out a new mortgage so that the other is completely free of responsibility for paying the remaining mortgage.

Sell the house and share the proceeds

There’s a lot to consider with this option. Will you be able to afford to buy a new place? Do you have adequate credit and income to be approved for a new loan or to rent a place? Did you buy your home recently or at the height of the market and don’t have any equity?

Stay as joint owners

This is an option many ex-couples choose, especially if they have children they don’t want to uproot. In this case, one person stays in the house with the kids until the youngsters are a specified age. You will have to determine who pays the taxes, utilities and repairs, as well as how the mortgage payments will be made. Another popular option is to have the kids stay in the home, with the parents rotating in and out. The parents could share the rent on a small apartment where they stay during the weeks they aren’t with the kids or live with friends or family members on off weeks.

Whatever option you choose must make sense for all parties. Your divorce attorney can outline your options in more detail.

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