In any Vermont divorce, the parties must divide their marital property. This includes just about any assets or debts they acquired during the marriage.
The family home is often the most valuable single asset owned by the divorcing couple. Under Vermont law, it is marital property if it’s in one spouse’s name or both.
Options for how to divide real estate assets
Of course, dividing a home during divorce is a lot trickier than dividing a bank account. You may be able to withdraw cash from your savings account and split it, but you can’t do that with a house or a condominium.
There are three main options for dealing with your family home in a divorce:
- Sell the home and divide the proceeds according to the terms of your settlement
- Keep the home and rent it or take turns staying in it, i.e., nesting
- One spouse buys out the other and takes over ownership of the home
Each of these options has its strengths and weaknesses.
- Option 1 is a great solution if you can find a buyer. The housing market has its ups and downs. If you have to sell the home quickly, you may not be able to at a price that is acceptable for you and your ex.
- Option 2 may look like the easiest solution on paper, but it means you can’t just walk away from your ex when the divorce is finalized. If you intend to rent out the property and divide the income between you, you will become business partners. If one of you intends to stay in the home, you’ll have to work out some other solution.
- Option 3 is a common choice especially when the parties don’t want to disrupt their children’s lives too much by moving. However, it requires determining a fair market value and agreeing on a price with your ex.
Attorneys with experience in divorce help their clients to assess their options for the family home, find valuation professionals and negotiate a price that works for them.