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What to do with the house in a divorce

The end of a marriage not only takes an emotional toll on those involved, it also poses significant financial challenges. During divorce proceedings, spouses must determine what to do with a variety of assets, including the house. Given the financial consequences related to dividing this significant asset, decisions made regarding the house may be some of the most important aspects of any given divorce settlement process.

Divorcing couples in Pittsburgh have a variety of options to consider when dealing with the marital home in a divorce. First, one spouse may choose to keep the house.

In this scenario, it is important to remove the non-owning spouse from the mortgage, title, etc. If the non-owning spouse remains tied to these documents, creditors and lenders may hold both spouses accountable for the home or any credit-related situations involving it. One way to accomplish this split is for the home owning-spouse to refinance the property.

The other most popular option is selling the home. This may be either a smart or unfortunate financial decision, depending on the state of the mortgage and the ability of a single spouse to make the payments. If the mortgage is underwater, no one will benefit financially from the sale. On the other hand, if a single spouse cannot make the mortgage payments regardless, selling the house may be the only viable option.

Finally, other unique solutions may be brokered in certain circumstances. For example, both spouses may move out of the home and choose to rent it and split any profits until another arrangement can be made.

Regardless of what decisions are made regarding the home in a divorce case, it is important that former spouses become financially independent from one another as quickly as is prudent. Otherwise, they could be held jointly liable for each other's financial missteps.

Source: Nasdaq, "How to divorce your mortgage," Jan. 26, 2012

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