Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
(770) 676-1191
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How a house might be divided in a divorce

For many Georgia couples who are divorcing, their biggest jointly owned asset is a house. Dealing with home ownership may be one of the most difficult parts of property division. One factor that may affect the division is how much the couple still owes on the mortgage.

Some couples may opt to stick it out in the house together and pay off the mortgage, but this can be an emotionally trying option. The couple can also sell the house and split the equity. However, this will not necessarily be a 50/50 split. Premarital assets, the existence of a prenuptial agreement and who paid for improvements might all be factors.

Even if a couple agrees in court that one spouse will take over the house and mortgage payments, this does not release the other spouse from financial obligations. In order for one spouse to be removed from the mortgage, it is necessary for the other spouse to refinance the home. This means the lender will reassess the spouse's financial fitness and might request a cosigner or a larger down payment. The couple will then have to complete a quitclaim deed to take the spouse off the mortgage.

An attorney might be able to assist in walking a client through this process as well as assessing whether or not to try to keep the house. Emotions may influence a person's thinking. For example, a client might want to fight for the house for sentimental reasons and be inclined to give up something like their portion of the retirement account in exchange. However, they should be realistic about their ability to keep up with house payments and consider how much the retirement account might appreciate.

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Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
4799 Sugarloaf Pkwy
Building J
Lawrenceville, GA 30044

Phone: 770-676-1191
Fax: 770-963-2828
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