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Property division: Deciding whether to stay or to go?

Addressing the family home is one of the top priorities for many Maryland couples who are going through a divorce. This is a property division matter in which there is no clear "right" or "wrong" path. Even when selling the home is clearly the best possible financial move, there are cases where one spouse will feel strongly that staying put is the best way to go. What is most important is that no spouse reaches a decision about the family home without being fully informed of all of the pros and cons associated with each option.

When it comes to selling the family home, the benefits are clear. Both sides will be able to walk away from the transaction with a sense of closure, and hopefully with a nice nest egg to put toward structuring their new lives. Selling the home does come with the added aggravation of finding a real estate agent, negotiating sales terms and getting through to the closing. However, the end result is something of a clean slate.

On the other hand, when one spouse insists on keeping the home, a great deal of financial wrangling must be done to make that happen. The spouse who agrees to walk away from the property is entitled to a share of the home's equity. That requires the other party to have the cash or assets needed to make that payment. In some cases, the home must be refinanced in order to obtain the funds needed to "cash out" the transaction. That can be a challenge for some spouses, especially those who are short of credit.

Deciding what to do about the family home is a top priority for many Maryland couples. In making this property division decision, it can be helpful to work with a trusted financial advisor. He or she can help clarify the short and long term gains or losses associated with keeping the home. Having that information can make it easier to make an informed decision that is in line with one's financial goals.

Source:, "What to do about your home in a divorce", Shawn Leamon, March 16, 2017

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