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Dividing property and divorce: who gets the house?

| Mar 15, 2011 | Property Division

When a couple decides to get a divorce, there are a number of things to consider. As we’ve seen in previous posts, those factors can include child support and child custody. Another main issue that arises is property division and how the couple will split assets, particularly the house.

While there may be other assets that are worth more in a financial sense, a house often carries not only a financial value but an emotional value as well. Families come to know a house as a home, with many memories attached to it. So how do couples decide what to do with a house after a divorce?

Should the house be sold? Or should one spouse keep the house? These are the initial questions that likely pop into the minds of a couple going through a divorce. In order to answer these questions, the couple should determine:

  • The value of the real estate property
  • The equity, or true value, of the real estate property
  • Expenses that relate to keeping the home (for example: mortgage payments, property taxes, gas and water bills, etc…)
  • How much of the house each spouse owns

Figuring that information out will help move the process of asset division, specifically with the house, forward.

Tennessee, as an equitable distribution state, looks at the property of a couple during the divorce process and divides it equitable. This does not mean that the property is divided equally, but rather the courts will look at several factors to figure out how the marital property should be distributed. These factors include looking at each spouse’s income, how long the two were married, and whether spousal maintenance was awarded.

It seems like a complicated process and is often frustrating for couples who are already emotionally drained. Ultimately, deciding whether to keep or sell a home is not an easy decision to make. It can be beneficial for couples facing this decision to speak with someone who understands the financial implications that may result.

Source: Scarsdale Patch online, “Real Estate in Divorce: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly,” Rose Marinaccio, 12 March 2011


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