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The Pros and Cons of Co-Owning a House After a Divorce in Oregon

Published May 5, 2021
Continuing to co-own your home after your divorce is finalized can give you the flexibility you need to fully transition into your new life. However, if you and your ex cannot communicate effectively, co-ownership may not work. Talk to an attorney to learn more.

The ending of any marriage is complicated. While you cope with the emotional fallout of your separation, you are also confronted with an array of decisions that carry weighty consequences. How will your assets be divided? Will one of you pay the other spousal support? Who assumes custody of the family pet? How will child custody arrangements be determined? As you wade through these important questions, another one arises: What will happen to the house you jointly own? When it comes to questions of homeownership and divorce, you may wonder whether it’s better for one spouse to “buy out” the other spouse, to proceed with co-ownership, or to sell the house altogether. Let’s take a closer look at the potential benefits and disadvantages of co-owning your home with your ex after the divorce is finalized.

Times Where Co-Ownership May Serve Your Needs

Continuing to co-own your home after you and your spouse have gone your separate ways may not sound like an ideal situation. However, co-ownership can make the transition into your new lives easier, especially financially. Perhaps neither spouse has the means to buy out the other spouse to give them full ownership of the house so that both parties can go their separate ways. Co-ownership enables you to make gradual payments to your spouse over time until you’ve fully paid your share and can then walk away from ownership completely. Custodial parents may benefit the most from this arrangement, as the children can remain in the house for a lengthier period of time before the buyout is complete. Co-ownership allows you and your ex to make the decision to walk away or sell the house according to a timeline that best serves your needs.

Potential Downsides to Co-Ownership

If you decide to move forward with co-ownership for the time being, there is a significant amount of accounting you’ll need to negotiate with your ex. Every home expense will need to be scrutinized and divided in an equitable manner, and you’ll need to determine who will benefit most from taking the mortgage interest deduction. Additionally, since the property will remain in both your names, any late mortgage payments—even if it was entirely your ex’s fault—could negatively affect your credit rating. Naturally, besides the financial implications, there are emotional factors that could make co-ownership even more complicated. You’ll be required to communicate and negotiate with your ex on a frequent basis. If you and your ex struggle to communicate in an honest and productive manner, co-ownership may not be right for you.

Exploring Your Options

When it comes to divorce, there is no one-size-fits-all model. You and your ex need to make decisions that address your needs and serve your best interests. Co-ownership offers divorcing couples the opportunity to create their own timeline for moving forward, but it may not work for those who are unable to find common ground or navigate complex financial decisions together. Before you make your decision, explore your options with a trusted attorney.

To learn more about your divorce options in the Portland metro area, Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. is here to offer you trusted and compassionate guidance. Call our friendly office today at (503) 233-8868 to schedule your appointment with an experienced divorce and family law attorney who can help you achieve your goals.

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