Divorce and Your Home/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on November 29, 2012


A blog post, written by a Family Therapist, Vicki Volper, deals with a number of issues that arise in divorce matters, relative to the sale of the marital home. (The blogs can be found at http://mediationteamct.com/blog/). Many of these issues are laden with emotional impact and the need for mediation in such matters is self-evident.

Some of the issues are easily categorized. They include:

1. To sell or not to sell.

The need to keep a home that the children are acquainted with is quite important. Schools, friends, memories are all bound up with a particular home. Divorce is taxing on children. The sale of a marital home, coupled, with a divorce, is a great deal of change to introduce to the children’s lives. On the other hand, for many couples, the support for two residences post-divorce (i.e. one for each spouse) may only be possible if there are proceeds from the sale of a marital home. Much will need to be negotiated, and weighed, when the decision to sell must be reviewed. In addition, some homes may be worth less than the mortgage balance that is owed. Mediation is a boon to such a discussion as both parties will need to be “on board” with the ultimate decisions that are reached.

2. Who pays for expenses of home if one spouse remains there?

Expenses such as a damaged roof, obsolete heating system, etc. will likely confront a long-term house dweller. Who pays for such capital expenses? What happens if mortgage payments are not made and the bank forecloses? Will lawsuits result? Can one party “come to the rescue” and make such payments voluntarily and leverage this against other financial obligations? In our sour economic times all possibilities need to be considered and negotiated at the time of divorce.

3. What happens when the home is finally on the market?

How will proceeds from a house sale be divided? How will it be determined what offer will be acceptable? Who will shoulder the burden of expenses that are necessary to make the house marketable? Details of a house sale are difficult for intact families. Families in a divorce situation will find these pressures to be greatly multiplied. Negotiations will often be made well before the house is sold. This will involved much detail and will be aided by a process made civil and amicable; i.e. mediation.