For many couples, their house is one of their largest assets. If you are facing divorce, you may be worried about where you will live, who will get the house and if you will need to sell it. The answers to these questions will largely depend upon your financial situation after the divorce and whether you and your former spouse can agree upon a plan for the house. There are several things for you to consider.
Property division in South Carolina
South Carolina is an equitable distribution state, which means that a family court judge may use many factors to decide on a fair division of property. This may not result in a 50-50 split. The family home is just one piece of this puzzle that the judge might consider. If you and your ex can agree on a property division, plan, however, you might find a solution that works better for you than what the judge will decide.
Do either of you want the house?
If neither of you wants to keep the house, then the process becomes much simpler. You can agree to sell the house and add the proceeds to the marital estate. If one of you wants to keep the house, and the other doesn’t, the spouse staying in the property will need to do several things:
- Determine the value of the home – You should have the home appraised whether you sell or keep the house in order to have an agreed-upon value.
- Buy out the other spouse – The buying spouse must be able to pay the selling spouse their fair share of the value. This can be accomplished through remortgaging the property or by trading the property interest for some other marital asset worth roughly the same amount.
- Finance the home – In addition to paying the other spouse, the buying spouse must be able to afford any mortgage payments in the future. In some circumstances, alimony payments could help with this.
What if both spouses want the house?
If you cannot agree on who should stay in the house, the court may need to decide. The judge has a lot of discretion in these matters and may consider such factors as who will have more time with the kids (so the kids can stay in their home), who has a better chance of qualifying for financing and even whether one of the parties was at fault for the divorce.