By Tracy Fischer – June 2013
Many divorce agreements drafted over the past few years provide for joint ownership of the marital home, with one party residing in the home usually with the children. Often when these arrangements are made, parents want to maintain stability for the children, trying to keep the same school system and friendships. One spouse may not be ready to make the decision about where to move. Situations have occurred over the past few years where it would not be financially feasible to sell the home because property values had decreased. The person who does not live in the home is usually not financially responsible to pay the costs of the home, but may be responsible for larger necessary maintenance and repair costs.
Often agreements provide for a specific length of time that the house will be owned jointly before there is a buy-out or sale. This length of time can be increased or decreased by agreement of the parties. The party who does not live in the home may be unable to purchase a new home because of equity that is tied up in the jointly held property or because of the mortgage which remains in joint names.