What Happens to the Home in a Divorce?

Transfer of Ownership of a Home During DivorceDisposition, or Transfer of Ownership of a Home During Divorce

There are three logical questions that should be answered in progression when attempting the disposition of a home. ('Disposition', in this case, meaning essentially transfer to the care of another person). 


1. Do one or both parties want the home? 
2. Is the home affordable for either party? 
3. Can a value for the home be agreed upon by both parties? 

Three possible solutions will follow when the above questions are answered sequentially: 


1. Sell the home and divide the proceeds. 
2. Enter a value into the marital estate that both parties agree upon. 
3. Refer the home issue to a trier of fact since the parties cannot agree upon a value. 


Ease of Disposition
This logical method of disposition begins with basic questions (and possible quick resolutions) and moves to questions that are more complicated (and resultant resolution difficulties). For instance, if neither party wants the home, disposition is easily accomplished. If one party wants the home, value must then be determined and complications may arise. Litigation represents the highest tier of complexity. 

Financial Aspect of Disposition
This method of disposition also begins with the least expensive disposition and ends with the most costly. For instance, market analysis, which is a realtor’s opinion of the home’s value, is often given for free or a nominal amount. Appraisals, on the other hand, are given by licensed and trained professionals who may charge from hundreds to thousands of dollars. 

Risk of Disposition 
Finally, this process starts with the least risk and ends with the most risk. You are exposed to little risk when the home is sold and the proceeds divided. However, if the issue is allowed to go to litigation, you incur much greater risk.