Attorney Explains Dividing Real Estate in a Chester County Divorce
Deciding Who Gets the Family Home
One of the hardest decisions you have to make during a divorce is what you should do with your family home. You may have spent years there, sharing memories with your spouse and children, and never thought you’d have to split it. Determining who gets the family home is a difficult prospect, but by working with a skilled attorney, you may be able to keep it or find an amicable solution for your family.
If you are going through a divorce in Chester County, do not hesitate to reach out to the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. Our lead attorney has served clients throughout Chester and Montgomery Counties for more than 25 years and has an in-depth understanding of Pennsylvania’s divorce laws. We can help you determine the value of your family home, as well as any other real estate you have, and advocate for your best interests in court. Call our office toll-free at (866) 290-9292 to schedule a free case evaluation today.
How Is Real Estate Divided in a PA Divorce?
All real estate purchased after you signed your marriage certificate is considered marital property, according to Pennsylvania. If you purchased a house after getting married, then it is subject to property division in the event of a divorce. In addition, if you and your spouse cohabitated prior to marriage, then any houses, condos, timeshares, or other real estate you owned may be considered marital property depending on who signed the lease and financed the property.
As an equitable distribution state, Pennsylvania seeks to divide marital property in a “fair” way, but this does not mean both sides get the same amount of property. Instead, courts work to find amicable solutions that provide for both spouse’s needs, as well as the needs of any children or dependents. If you have a large amount of property and are involved in a high-asset divorce, it may prove difficult to determine what is fair for both sides.
Oftentimes, it is not as simple as one spouse moving out of the main house while the other gets to keep a vacation home or condo. If one spouse cannot afford to handle the mortgage or lease on their own, you may need to sell it. This is not a simple process, as spouses can disagree on the appropriate price for a home. Alternatively, if one spouse keeps the home and is still paying the mortgage, any late payments could impact the other spouse’s credit history.
Out-of-State Property and a Chester County Divorce
It is not uncommon for Chester County residents to have out-of-state property, such as vacation homes, timeshares, and condos. While you may assume that they are outside the jurisdiction of a Pennsylvania court, it is more complicated than that. Legally speaking, the courts do not have jurisdiction over the properties, but they do have jurisdiction over spouses in a divorce. Thus, a Chester County court could order you to divide your real estate, even if it exists outside of Pennsylvania. This division must follow the same rules as property within the state.
Protecting Your Financial Future Post-Divorce
While we typically think of homes as assets, they can be considered a type of debt during a divorce if they include mortgages, leases, and other financial obligations spouses may owe to a lending company or bank. Oftentimes, spouses choose to sell the house to avoid these financial obligations, but there are situations where one spouse wants to hang onto the house.
If your spouse wishes to keep the house, it important to ensure that they are the sole owner. If your name is still on the lease, you could be responsible for making payments even if you do not live there. For example, if your ex loses her job, then she may not be able to make the mortgage, and the lender could come after you for late payments.
In either situation, it is important to ensure you receive your fair share of the property’s value. Even if you did not contribute to the household income, if you handled the house’s financials, chores, upkeep, and other takes, you ultimately contributed to its value and deserve proper compensation when it is sold. Many spouses undervalue their contributions to a household and lose out on assets that they rightly deserve. To ensure that you are properly represented during your divorce, you should contact the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., as soon as possible.
Speak to Attorney Sheryl R. Rentz Today
Dividing a family home and any other real estate your family accumulated during a marriage is a stressful process. You have to calculate the value of your real estate, determine if you can afford it post-divorce, and ensure that all financial obligations are properly assigned.
Rather than going through this process alone, speak to a Chester County divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. Since 1992, our firm has served families throughout Chester County and helped them during their divorces. Our legal team can review your situation in a free, confidential case evaluation and work with you to find a positive solution. Call us toll-free at (866) 290-9292 today.