Depositphotos_7530611_xs-1-300x208When determining what do to with your real estate, you may want to consider if the property will be sold, transferred to one of you, or if one of you will occupy the property for a specified period of time such as the graduation of a child from high school, the remarriage of the occupant, or a specific date in the future.

Many courts will allow the “custodial” parent to stay in the house until all the children graduate high school if there are only a few years left unless you can’t afford it or the other parent is in immediate need of the proceeds from the sale of the home.

If you are keeping the house together, you should decide who will be responsible for paying the mortgage and the other expenses such as the taxes, utilities, maintenance, insurance, repairs, etc. until the house is sold or transferred to one of you.

Since a bank will usually not remove one name from the mortgage unless the other person refinances it in his or her name, you may also want to decide if you will keep the current mortgage or refinance it.

You should also know that keeping the current mortgage in both names may limit one of you from obtaining another mortgage in order to purchase a new residence and also continues to make both of you liable if the payments are missed or late. A refinance will probably require you to demonstrate the financial ability to make the mortgage payments on your own and may also entail closing costs.

If you intend to sell the property or if one of you will be refinancing it to buy the other out, it is wise to formulate a contingency plan in case the property does not sell or the bank does not approve the refinancing.  You may also want to determine how you will agree on the selling price if a dispute should arise.

Finally, if you are divorced before the house is transferred to one of you or sold, you will no longer own it as Husband and Wife. This means that if one of you should die after you are divorced, the house passes into his or her estate and not to the other spouse. The best way to deal with this is to have a new will prepared and leave your interest in it either to your spouse or other named beneficiary.

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