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Divorcing couples have options for the family home

For many people who are going through divorce in Kentucky, the family home is the most valuable asset they own. In some cases, the couple sells the house in order to divide the proceeds in the divorce settlement. In other cases, especially those where the couple has children, one spouse buys out the other and keeps the house. Some of the steps are the same either way because the value of the home must be determined as part of the process.

The first step is usually to determine how much equity the couple has. The equity in the home is the value of the home minus any outstanding mortgage debt. A certified appraiser can assess the home's value. Both parties to the divorce should be involved in choosing and paying the appraiser, to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Alternatively, both spouses can hire their own appraisers to value the home independently. If the two appraisals are similar, the estimated value is established.

The parties should also bring in a home inspector to look for issues that could impact the value of the property. Plumbing problems, HVAC problems and termite damage are all relatively common and could reduce the value of the home if repairs are required. Generally, the cost of repairs will be deducted from the sale price of the home, or the homeowners will have to make the repairs before selling.

In divorce cases where the couple has a home to divide or where one party wants to buy out the other, an attorney may be able to help by negotiating the terms of property division or by helping the parties locate professionals to perform the appraisal and home inspection. An attorney who has experience handling divorce cases might also draft and file the petition to begin the process or represent the client during child custody or child support hearings.

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