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How to avoid common errors with the marital home in divorce

When couples in California split property in a divorce, they should be careful to avoid some typical mistakes regarding their home. One of those mistakes may be keeping the home in the first place. A person who wants to do so should carefully review monthly costs to make sure it is affordable. One woman who fought for months to get the home said she later regretted the time she spent on it when she finally realized the better solution was to sell it and split the money.

However, one attorney says that while couples may arrive at this solution through negotiation, it is more common for an immediate sale to happen because a judge has ordered it. If a person does decide to keep the home, another common mistake is not removing the other spouse from the deed. Couples may skip this step to cut down on paperwork, but if the owner decides to sell the home or cannot keep up with payments, this might cause trouble later.

One person could buy out the other or one spouse could sign the home over to the other without money being involved, but another option is keeping the home for a short time. Parents might combine this with a nesting agreement in which the children remain in the house while they take turns living there.

Although California's community property laws mean that most property will be considered the property of both people, this does not mean the home or every other asset must be split 50/50. One person could keep the home while the other person keeps a different asset. However, the couple may want to make sure the assets have a similar value. This should include calculating any penalties, taxes or other costs involved in maintaining or getting distributions from the asset.

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