Dividing Real Estate in a Divorce

By John Anthony Ward on April 28, 2019


A large suburban houseGoing through a divorce can be extremely stressful. That’s why it’s crucial to hire a skilled divorce lawyer and family law attorney. John Anthony Ward has helped countless people in the Kenosha, WI area with divorce and separations, child custody disputes, and the division of property at the end of a marriage.

Many property disputes in a divorce are related to real estate. Dividing a home can be complicated, and just selling it and splitting the money is not always the best option. Let’s cover some important matters related to divorce and property below.

Is the Real Estate Separate or Community Property?

One of the first matters to consider is if the property in question is separate property of community property. Separate property is property acquired before marriage or after the divorce process has been initiated; community property is property acquired during the marriage.

This distinction sounds straightforward, but it can get blurry and complicated when it comes to real estate in a marriage.

Date of Purchase

The date of purchase should be considered. If the property was purchased during the marriage, then it is community property. If the house was purchased by a spouse prior to marriage, it may be separate property. However, another matter must be considered.

Use of the Property

Even if the house was purchased before a marriage, if the couple lived in the house during marriage and/or it became a source of income during a marriage, it may be reclassified as a marital asset rather than a separate asset.

Stipulations in a Prenuptial Agreement

It’s important to look over a prenuptial agreement for a couple to see if there are any agreements about who gets a home in the event of a divorce, and any related matters. This can avoid confusion and vagueness when it comes to the division of various assets. If there is a prenuptial agreement, the team at our Kenosha family law office will make sure its stipulations are followed.

To Sell, or Not to Sell?

Once the value of the house has been assessed, divorced couples then have a choice to make about the property. If the couple sells the house, they can split the amount equally.

However, it may not be the right time to sell a house, or perhaps one spouse wants to retain the house. That’s where additional options must be weighed.

One Spouse Keep a Home and Refinances

One spouse may become the sole owner of the house, at which point they refinance. By refinancing, the other spouse is removed from the mortgage. There are questions, however, if the individual spouse will qualify for the new mortgage.

Both Couples Retain the Home Until It Can Be Sold

If selling a house is not a good option at the moment or the couple cannot afford to part with the house, the house could be shared even after a divorce. One spouse may move out but continue helping with mortgage payments. If there are children in the marriage, a house may be retained due to school and other practical concerns.

Fights Over a House in a Divorce

If both spouses do not want to part with a home, that’s where major disputes can arise. Having a divorce lawyer on your side can help keep these disputes as professional and objective as possible. Your side of the matter can be heard, and your lawyer can steer negotiations toward a reasonable and fair agreement.

Speak with a Divorce Lawyer

For more information about your legal rights and options at the end of a marriage, be sure to contact a skilled divorce lawyer and family law attorney. John Anthony Ward can be reached at his Kenosha office by phone at (262) 654-8868.

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