How Your Home Equity is Determined During California Divorce


property division, home equity, san diego

For most couples, the family home represents the largest investment and most valuable asset. Because California is a “community property” state, the court will try to divide the home’s value equally between spouses or partners during a divorce.

In this issue, the San Diego divorce lawyers with the Men’s Legal Center will explain how home equity is determined during a California divorce.

If you’re considering divorce, you definitely need the skill set of an experienced divorce lawyer who can guide you through the legal process and best position you for your post-divorce life.

Here at the Men’s Legal Center, we’ve earned our reputation for going above and beyond to help Californians successfully navigate their way to their post-divorce lives. You can receive a free phone consultation and make your appointment by calling 619-234-3838 or via email.

How to Determine Equity in Your Family Home

Since the real estate market fluctuates, an appraisal of your home should be carried out when either you or your spouse or partner file for divorce. Previous appraisals will no longer be valid.

  1. While you may want to rely upon the tax-assessed value of your home, it’s best to select a real estate appraiser who has previously appraised homes for divorce cases.
  2. List all of the liens against the home – including the mortgage, home equity lines, etc. To make sure you have identified all liens against your property, a title search on your home is definitely a smart move.
  3. Deduct the total amount of all the liens from your home’s appraised value. The result is your equity.

Can I stay in the house after the divorce?

Many couples will choose to sell the family home and share the proceeds after the divorce. In other instances, one of the parties will want to remain in the home.

We wrote an entire column devoted to the topic of being the spouse with the house, so if you want to continue to live in the family home, there are ways to make it happen.

  • You can buy out your spouse or partner’s share in the house by paying for 50 percent of the equity.
  • If you don’t have enough to cover the 50 percent, you and your spouse or partner may be able to determine a mutually acceptable amount.
  • The mortgage could be refinanced to meet the existing mortgage and half of the equity amount, which should enable you to cover your spouse or partner’s interest in the home.

For divorce mediation in San Diego, call the Men’s Legal Center.

Even if it’s court-mandated, divorce mediation can be a powerfully important option for you and your spouse or partner. For one thing, it puts both of you in control of the divorce agreement, rather than a court or judge.

For more information about divorce mediation in San Diego, get in touch with us here at the Men’s Legal Center. You can receive a free phone consultation and make your appointment by calling 619-234-3838 or via email.

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