Property division is one of the most complex aspects of divorce. One piece of property that can be particularly contentious in British Columbia breakups is the family home. While many couples opt to sell the home and split the profits in a divorce, this is not the only option.
An alternative solution is for one former spouse to buy out the other’s interest in the property. When negotiating a buyout in mediation, individuals should consider the following details:
- The value of the house: Couples need to agree on the value of the property. This usually involves hiring a real estate appraiser, the cost of whom will also need to be negotiated.
- Maintenance needed on the house: If partners agreed to do some maintenance on the house while married but it was put off for some reason, the spouse buying out the property may want the price to be lowered to cover this expense.
- Mortgage and refinancing considerations: Every mortgage is different, so it is critical to ensure the lender is able to transfer the debt as the couple intends. Additionally, many couples have the added complication of additional debt being held under their mortgage to work out.
- Spousal support: It’s a good idea to discuss spousal support at the same time as working out the buyout, as this could be calculated into the arrangement; for example, someone may be willing to take less spousal support in return for some house equity.
Clearly, there are quite a few details that need discussing when it comes to buying out a family home in a divorce. It can be a more complicated way forward in some cases, but it may be worthwhile in order to hold onto a valuable property or provide stability to children. The first step in any property division from divorce is to speak with a British Columbia family lawyer.