Who Gets the House in the Divorce?

Oftentimes the marital residence is one of the most valuable assets owned by a married couple. It also is one of the assets to which many people become emotionally attached. So what happens with the marital residence when a married couple is heading for divorce? What are the available options? The first question must necessarily be what is the value of the marital residence? To determine the value, some parties rely on information available on online websites such as Zillow.com or Redfin.com. However, these online websites are often unreliable and do not constitute admissible evidence regarding the value of the residence if the matter were to proceed to Court. A more practical and reliable approach is for the parties to retain a certified residential appraiser to prepare an appraisal report. Couples can either choose to jointly retain an appraiser or one spouse can obtain an appraisal and if the other spouse disagrees with the appraised value, he or she can then obtain another independent appraisal report. Once the parties can agree on the fair market value of the residence the next step is to determine if there are any mortgages or encumbrances against the residence. If so, these debts will be deducted from the appraised value of the residence to determine the equity in the home. Once the equity is determined, then discussions regarding the division of the residence...

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