For many couples facing divorce, the family home is the largest asset of the marriage. In this article, we’ll talk about how you can buyout your spouse so that you can keep the family home for yourself.
California a Community Property State
California is one of 9 “community property” states. In a nutshell, this means that courts will consider all property that is acquired during the marriage a part of the marital estate, and will be divided equally between the spouses.
How to Buyout Your Spouse’s Share of the House
If you want to stay in the house, the first thing you need to consider is whether or not you can actually afford to buyout your spouse’s share. As the buyer, you’ll need to come up with 50% of the equity in the house (the value minus debts on the home).
Trust us, you do not want to go to all the effort of liquidating assets to later discover that you can’t cover the mortgage, property taxes, etc.
Once you’ve determined that you’re able to afford it, let’s move to the next steps.
- You and your spouse need to determine a buyout value that is mutually acceptable. If you’re having trouble coming up with a value, you can hire a professional appraiser for the current fair market value of the home.
- If you do not have the cash on-hand to go ahead and buy out your spouse, think of what “community assets” you can trade off. For example, if you and your spouse have $10,000 in community savings, you can transfer your $5,000 interest in the savings to your spouse.
It’s important to keep in mind that if your spouse contributed to the purchase of the home, they are entitled to be reimbursed.
The Courts Can Order the House to be Sold
If the courts decide to award the house to one spouse, they will typically do so with an “equalizing payment” condition. This means that the court will order the spouse with the house to reimburse the other for their fair share of the home.
When the court does this, they are required to consider:
- Financial positions of both spouses
- Emotional attachments to the house
- What the property is used for
The Court Can Force Sale of the House
Let’s say that you want to sell the house but your spouse refuses. You can file paperwork with the court to ask that the judge order the home to be sold. When this is done, the profits of the sale will be divided equally or in a way to make sure that the division is fair.
For Fair Treatment from Family Court, Call Men’s Legal Center
We know that many men may be hesitant to seek legal help during their divorce because they’re convinced the odds are not with them in family court. However, past clients of The Men’s Legal Center know from experience that the sooner they ask for our help, the better their chances are for a positive result.
If you’re facing divorce, we urge you to get in touch with us ASAP by calling 619-234-3838 or by sending an email.