Experienced Attorneys Helping Couples Navigate through Divorce in Washington State
When a couple contemplates or completes a divorce in Washington, or elsewhere, one of the most difficult decisions the couple faces is what to do with the marital residence. From an emotional standpoint, it’s filled with memories – some good, some bad. From a financial standpoint, the residence may be among the largest assets (and liabilities) possessed by the couple. In many cases, the couple determines that the house should be sold. Whatever the circumstances of the proposed sale, a number of issues will likely arise. Here are some matters to consider.
One Party Purchases the Interest of the Other and Stays in the Home
Before the couple decides to put the house on the market, they should perhaps take one step back and determine if either party has a strong desire to stay. Depending upon the variables involved, this may be the simplest solution. Generally, the couple will need to consider:
- The home’s valuation and how that amount is determined. Determining the value may be straightforward where there are nearby comparable sales. If the couple cannot come to some agreed valuation, perhaps the issue should be put before a trusted real estate agent or other disinterested party.
- The balance of the mortgage. Is there substantial equity in the home? In some cases, where equity exists, the existing mortgage can be refinanced so as to free up sufficient cash to “buy out” the interest of the party who will not remain. A home equity line might also be appropriate.
- The need for repairs. The price of the house should reflect its condition. If the house needs a new roof or other required maintenance, allowance for those issues should be made.
Sale of the Home to a Third Party
If the couple determines that neither spouse will stay in the house for the long term following the divorce and that, instead, the residence will be sold to a third party, there are other issues to consider:
- At what price will the house be offered? Upon what mechanism, if any, can the couple agree to price reductions?
- Who will live in the home until it is sold?
- How will the existing mortgage be handled? Will the party paying it get some appropriate credit?
- How will minor repairs be handled until the closing?
- How will major repairs required to get the house in proper order be handled?
- What arrangements, if any, will the couple make to handle any tax liability that may come about through the sale?
- Is there an agreement on the division of the home interest deduction for the tax year in which the home is sold?
Look to the Future
No matter what the sale arrangements, both parties to the divorce should focus on the future, rather than the past. New financial arrangements will be required. Each former spouse needs a realistic budget. Because of the emotional and financial issues involved, most persons facing a divorce and sale of the residence choose to retain the services of an experienced attorney who can offer advice on a regular basis.
Blado Kiger Bolan, P.S. is a strong, experienced, and imaginative law firm that can provide clarity in difficult moments. We have more than 30 years of combined experience providing quality family law services to individuals throughout the Pacific Northwest. Our attorneys work together to find solutions. You benefit from the experience of not just one attorney, but all the attorneys at Blado Kiger Bolan. We don’t believe in complicating matters and driving up costs. If there’s a simple solution, that’s our first choice. We work closely with you to resolve matters quickly and economically. Contact us on the web, or call our office at 253-272-2997.