Divorce will mean a lot of big changes in your daily life and your personal finances. Unless you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement, you will probably need to negotiate a way to divide your property.
Few marital possessions will be more valuable than your marital home. Your monthly mortgage payments could be nearly a third of your household income, and you may have invested tens of thousands of dollars in a down payment or in repairs to the property since taking possession of it.
What typically happens with marital homes during Louisiana divorces?
Home equity is often subject to community property division rules
The assets you and your spouse purchased while married and the income each of you earned is marital property that you have to share with one another in accordance with community property standards. Often, a community property approach to asset division requires an even split, but couples can negotiate for different arrangements.
When it comes to your marital home, you can potentially agree to sell it and split the proceeds, arrange to allow one spouse to retain the home or even draft contracts to arrange for the future joint ownership of the property. If one spouse retains the home, then you need to establish an appropriate value for the property.
Divorcing couples often require appraisals
What you paid for the house when you purchased it is likely far lower than what the home is worth on the current real estate market. You may need an appraisal to establish the current fair market value for the home. That value could potentially increase how much equity you have to split with your spouse in the divorce.
The spouse who wants to keep the home will typically need to refinance the property and withdraw some of the equity to pay the other spouse. However, you don’t necessarily have to diminish the equity in the home to pay off your spouse. You could agree to let them keep other property with an equivalent value so that you don’t diminish your equity and drastically increase your monthly mortgage payments.
You may not have control over the outcome
If you and your ex struggle to negotiate an arrangement because both of you want the house or you don’t agree about what it is currently worth, you may end up going to court and needing to abide by whatever decision a family law judge makes.
Especially if you feel strongly about securing a specific outcome, negotiating with your ex or going through divorce mediation and filing an uncontested divorce where you have already agreed to terms can help ensure you feel satisfied with the decisions for the biggest assets in your marriage. Understanding what happens to your property during a Louisiana divorce can help you strategize for court or better negotiate with your spouse.