Commonly one of the largest assets a couple owns is the home. In most cases, the home is a place where both parties have equal rights to the property. The marital home is a point of discussion during almost every divorce, so it comes with a lot of questions.
Marital Home: Valuing the Home’s Worth Post-Divorce
Is it considered marital?
To be a ‘marital home’, both parties must be on the deed. This can happen even if a home was originally purchased by a single party and there was a refinance or an addition of parties to the deed. If you purchase the home during the marriage, it is a marital asset and therefore equally divisible between parties during the divorce.
Can we just sell and walk away?
Yes! You can certainly sell the marital home and split the profits. This is the most simple way to do it (as long as there is a positive flow of funds, that is). However, children and school districts become a little more complicated.
Some will argue that it is important to keep the children in their normal schools (which, it is). If this is the case, a refinance in the name of the parent who will be staying in the house will be necessary. If this is not possible, you might consider selling.
How do we know how much it’s worth?
There are two different ways to find the worth of the marital home, both with positives and negatives. Firstly, a real estate agent will value the home at a certain amount. Keep in mind, this will be a comparison to comparable homes in the area. It will also have wiggle room for negotiations. The number a real estate agent gives will not be definitive and will probably be much higher than the actual worth.
Secondly, the other way to find the value of a home is an appraiser valuation. An appraiser is a licensed person who takes into account hundreds of variables. The appraiser’s value will probably be much lower than the market price.
It is up to you how you decide to find your home’s value. An appraisal will cost money up front, but will hold up in court much stronger than a real estate agent’s appraisal. Your marital home will be a big point of division in the divorce.