Category: Marital Home
Questions/Answers
Can the Rhode Island Family Court defer a sale of the marital home for the child(ren) in a divorce case?
If one of the parties requests a deferred sale of the home in a Rhode Island (RI) divorce, then the court must determine whether or not it is economically feasible for the person who is living in the home to pay the mortgage, liens, taxes and insurance on the home until the home is sold. In making that determination the court will look at the income of the resident parent, any alimony the parent receives, child support and other source of income to make those payments. The intent of this law is to prevent foreclosures, uninsured property, and deterioration of the marital home as a result of a divorce and to protect the parentsí equity in the house. R.I.G.L. 15-5-16 The court will consider whether it is in the best interests of the minor child or children to live in the house.
Helpful Tips and Facts
Keeping the marital home
The spouse who keeps the marital home needs to complete a thorough business transaction. This includes having a professional appraisal completed to determine value, ordering a title search to identify any leins not known to the one keeping the home, and having a complete home inspection to determine outstnading repair needs, then get estimates for any such repairs. The true home value will equal the appraisal, minus outstanding loans/leins, minus costs of outstanding repairs. These repair needs were caused by use of the residence by both spouses and should not become the liability of only one of them. Then do another title search upon signing the settlement to be sure there are no new leins against the home as a result of any actions of the departing spouse.
Cohabitation with your former spouse
In a down real estate market divorcing couples might have to consider living together after the divorce. The challenge facing couples that plan to live apart, but are kept together by the marketplace and their own financial needs is to devise a plan and a schedule that maintain and foster a collaborative problem solving approach.
Credit Issues with the Marital Home
Often property settlements involving the marital home provide that one spouse shall receive the real estate and the other spouse shall deed his/her interest over to the other. The spouse who receives the home often becomes responsible for making the mortgage payments on the property under the settlement or court order. A problem often arises when the spouse who is relinquishing the property is not released from the mortgage and note by the lender. The spouse who retains the home later fails to make the mortgage payment or makes the payment late. This often ruins the relinquishing spouses credit. A prudent lawyer will often address this contingency when drafting the property settlement or order. A simple requirement that the party retaining ownership of the property shall refinance the mortgage, will remedy this situation.
Keeping the marital house as a part of the settlement
Although keeping the marital home may be an emotional issue, be sure to take a look at the all of finances associated with the house. Can you afford the payments and the upkeep of the home? Do you need the home, or would downsizing be better? How long are you considering keeping the home? Will you be subject to capital gains when you sell the home? Although you may be attached to the home, sometimes it may make better sense in the long run to sell the house and either split the proceeds, and/or even get part of the retirement assets. Careful up-front planning will help you make a better long range decision about this very important asset.