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Tips for dealing with the family home in a divorce

When Ontario couples divorce, the largest single asset that they need to deal with in their settlement is usually their home. Despite the range of negative emotions that many estranged couples have about each other, it's important to be able to make smart decisions, often together, about what to do with the family home.

If you're the spouse who moves out, make sure that the spouse remaining there is keeping up the mortgage payments if your names are both on the mortgage. A default on a mortgage loan could seriously impact your credit when you most need a good credit rating.

Determine how the property is going to be split. Your lawyer can help you with that. In most cases, it's split in half. However, you may have a prenuptial agreement that says otherwise.

Remember that realtors and buyers often see a home being sold in the midst of a divorce as a "distress sale." Consequently, you may attract people who think that they can buy it for less than it's worth because you're anxious to unload it. Try to hold out for an offer that reflects what the home is worth.

If you sell your home and both of you move to new digs, it's best if the spouse who has primary custody of the kids remain in the same area as your previous home. This will allow your kids to continue attending the same school and stay close to their friends. Children go through enough turmoil when their parents divorce. It may be difficult for them to adjust to a new school, different extracurricular activities and make new friends as well.

Your Ontario family law attorney can work to ensure that, regardless of what you do with your family home, you get a fair deal. This can be essential to the future financial well-being of you and your children.

Source: YorkRegion.com, "Divorce and how it affects your home sale," accessed Jan. 25, 2016

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