As you face the ending of your marriage, you must confront 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 dog? Which parent will have primary custody of the children? In the midst of these questions arises another important one: What will happen to the house you both own? Some couples are able to resolve this issue by having one spouse “buy out” the other spouse and assume full ownership of the house. Or, they may decide to sell the house altogether and split the profit. However, there is another option. Co-ownership may be useful in certain circumstances, but there are some risks as well. Let’s take a closer look at the potential benefits and drawbacks to co-owning the house with your ex following your divorce.
Pros of Co-owning Your House
Let’s say you and your ex want to go your separate ways, and it would be ideal if you could buy out your spouse and give them full ownership over the house so that you could begin anew somewhere else. While this would be a solid plan, you may not have the funds to buy out your spouse right away. Co-ownership allows 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. This arrangement is especially helpful if you are the custodial parent, as the children can remain in the house for an extended period before the buyout is complete. Or, you and your ex may simply wish to delay the sale of your house until your 16-year-old leaves for college in two years, or you’re waiting for the real estate market to improve. The advantage of continuing to co-own the house after your divorce is that you get to make the decision to walk away or sell the house according to a timeline that works for you both.
If you and your spouse decide to continue to co-own the house, there is a significant amount of accounting you’ll need to work out. You will need to negotiate every detail of how you will continue to share the mortgage and cover expenses, and you’ll need to determine who will benefit most from taking the mortgage interest deduction. Additionally, since you will both continue to own the house, your individual credit reports will show the entire amount of the mortgage, which can cause some complications. If your ex makes a late mortgage payment, this could end up negatively affecting your credit rating.
Of course, besides the financial implications, there are emotional factors that could make the decision to co-own your house less appealing. For one thing, you’ll still have to interact with your ex on a fairly common basis. If you are worried that you and your ex will not be able to communicate constructively in the near future, co-ownership may not be right for you.
For more information about your divorce options in the Portland metro area, Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. is here to offer you trusted and compassionate guidance. Contact our friendly office today at (503) 233-8868 to schedule an appointment with an experienced divorce and family law attorney who can help you achieve your goals.