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When one spouse keeps the home in a divorce

Many divorcing couples in Washington have to decide what they will do with their homes along with the rest of their property. If one person wants to keep the home, several steps must be taken for one spouse to purchase out the other.

The couple must determine how much equity they each have in the property and what the home's market value is. An appraiser can determine the market value, and while it is best if the couple can agree on an appraiser, they might each want their own. An appraiser can look at sales of similar houses and the home's condition among other criteria. If each appraiser comes up with a substantially different value for the home, the couple might have to hire a third one.

A home inspector hired by the buyer can check for plumbing problems, HVAC issues, termite damage and any other major repairs that may be necessary. The couple must then decide how they will pay for the repairs. They might agree to deduct the buyer's portion from the buyer's share of the home. One way to split the home is for the other spouse to take an asset of equal value. It may still be necessary to remove the ex from the mortgage and title.

An attorney can help an individual determine whether keeping the home is the right decision. A parent who has custody of the children may feel that living in the family home helps reduce the upheaval. In other cases, an ex may want to keep it for sentimental reasons. However, the person might struggle to maintain the expenses on a single income. It's important for people to protect themselves during property division since living standards may drop after a divorce.

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