Buying Out Your Ex-Spouse or Selling the Family Home?

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | Jul 15, 2014 | 0 Comments

For most couples, the family home is the biggest investment made during a marriage. This often makes it the central focus of property disputes and can raise questions for both parties—including whether the home should be sold or how to protect the home if you wish to keep it for your children. While one party may want to keep the home, the other may want to sell it and liquidate the asset. Either way, it is important to know the law, protect your rights, and have a clear understanding of how the courts will side in the event that your case goes to court.

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Our Birmingham property division attorneysare experienced representing clients in a wide range post-marital disputes. We will take the time to understand your concerns, establish your rights, and identify the best course of action to achieve optimal results in your case. If you are considering keeping the family home, we will help review your assets, debts and income to make sure that you are able and willing to undertake the mortgage payments. If you wish to sell the property, we will help to advocate your interests through negotiation and settlement or in court.

If you are interested in buying out your ex-spouse to take over a mortgage, keep in mind that there are some important legal questions to consider. Are you still legally married? If you are legally separated, but not yet officially divorced, trying to buy out your spouse on a mortgage can be problematic. This comes down to the legality of splitting marital property before a divorce is finalized. If you want to buy the home for yourself, your spouse would need to sign a quit claim deed. This would ultimately release your spouse of any interest in the property. If you are still married, it is critical that your spouse release any interest in the property.

If you are looking to purchase a new home but still tied to your old home, financing options can become tricky. Even if you are legally divorced and the previous property has been awarded to your ex, it is possible that a lender will not refinance without your backing. Even though a credit report may indicate that the mortgage is no longer in your name, the lender may not release you from your obligations or refinance without your name on the loan. For lenders, the original loan was tied to both parties and it is not legally forced to dissociate from you, regardless of a divorce decree.

To ensure that you are legally separated from a mortgage on a home you no longer own, you must sell the home or have the mortgage refinanced without your name on the loan. This is the only final way to eliminate your financial liabilities on a previously owned home. When facing divorce, remember that your settlement can have long-term implications on your rights and obligations. Consult with an experienced advocate before signing a quick deed or settlement offer.

If you are contemplating a divorce, contact Birmingham Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.

Additional Resources:

Should You Move Out of The Marital Home? Learn From Divorce Attorneys, Not The Tabloids, June 11, 2013, By Jeff Landers, Forbes

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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