Couples in California often own a primary residence. However, many couples also own vacation homes or investment properties intended to generate household income that must be addressed when they divorce.
Regardless of what type of property spouses are compelled to divide and how many homes or vacant parcels they own, they will often benefit from following the three steps below during a divorce.
1. Consider the best solution for the property
Whether someone only has their marital home to consider or has a half dozen real properties that they share with their spouse, they will need to take some time to reflect on what would be the best outcome. Retaining the house is often people’s first response, but that isn’t always necessary if they want to protect their investment in the property. Community property law protects someone’s right to request to share of the equity in a home purchased and paid for during the marriage. Therefore, people need to think about whether ownership is the right solution or whether asking for their share of equity might be a better outcome.
2. Determine the fair market value for the property
It can be hard for people to establish what a home is truly worth, and vacant land can be even more of a challenge. The sale price of other nearby properties, the unique features of a home and even the square footage can influence what buyers will pay for the property. Neither the assessed value nor the price paid when purchasing the property will be an accurate reflection of what it is currently worth, and people may need professional help to establish the true fair market value of real property during a divorce.
3. Develop a thoughtful, detail-oriented strategy
The best outcomes don’t occur by accident in a divorce. People have to plan to achieve them.
People contemplating retaining properties may need to make preliminary arrangements for financing and insurance. Those intending to sell properties may need the support of a real estate professional to prepare for that process. Those who begin attending to the practical details necessary in a major transaction like a real estate sale or transfer will have an easier time following through with their intentions efficiently after reaching an agreement with their spouse or having a judge hand down a property division order.
Seeking legal guidance and taking thoughtful steps during the property division process can help people to protect their most valuable investments and pave the way for a brighter future during a divorce.