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Buying Out Your Ex's Share of the House

Who gets the house? This is probably the most contested part in property division, and there are many risks involved in whatever arrangement develops. For many people, however, once they have weighed the costs and liabilities, getting full ownership of the house is worth it.

In some cases, you may be able to exchange retirement funds or other liquid assets for your ex's share in the marital home (whether or not it is worth it is another matter altogether). You may need to refinance, however, taking out a new home loan that has just your name on it. Then you can withdraw funds from the equity to buy-out your ex and gain full ownership.

What is the first step to conducting a buyout? Usually, you will need to calculate your current ownership of the home, that is, you will need to know how much equity you have in it. You do this by:

  • Determining how much your home is worth
  • Deducting your outstanding mortgage from this amount
  • Deciding what your share of the equity is

Getting the House Valuated

Sometimes, a couple can look on real estate websites to see local house listings, or talk to a local real estate agent. It is possible that you two could agree on how much the house is worth, and put this value down in writing in your divorce settlement and other related documents.

If you cannot agree on the value, you may need to call on the services of an appraiser, or you may each want to hire your own appraiser. It will add to the expense of your divorce, but it can be worth it to get to the real value of the home.

Figuring Out the Mortgage Balance

With a "payoff" amount from your lender, you can looking at the balance on your loan, as well as issues such as a second mortgage, equity lines of credit, or liens.

Calculating Your Share of the Equity

There are only so many hard and fast rules for this one. In reality, negotiations and your judge's predisposition can be just as important if not more so than New York laws, which can grant a judge a great deal of discretion. Still, the following aspects are often important:

  • Whether or not the house is separate or marital property
  • Whether or not you have a prenup that discusses the house
  • Whether you paid the mortgage or for the house's upkeep with separate or marital property

Not sure if you want to keep the house or not? Or do you need a financial and legal strategy to retain ownership? You can discuss your legal options with an experienced Long Island divorce lawyer. Get a skilled advocate on your side when you contact the Meyers Law Group, P.C. today!