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Divorce and Its Impact on Shared Real Estate Investments

While divorce is never easy, additional assets and income streams can further complicate this already stressful time. If you and your spouse have shared real estate investments, be prepared for a long and drawn-out division of assets. Real estate is incredibly valuable, and figuring out how to divide it fairly takes time, patience, and often compromise.

Knowing what to expect is key as you approach your Charleston divorce. With the team at Pence Law Firm by your side, you can feel confident throughout this process. Call us at 304-407-7852 to discuss your next steps.

How Real Estate is Divided in Divorce

Like most states, West Virginia is an equitable distribution state. This means that assets should be divided in a way that is fair, not necessarily a way that is equal. A number of factors are taken into consideration, including each party’s contributions to the marriage, who will be the children’s primary caretakers, the length of the marriage, and each spouse’s financial stability. 

For example, if Spouse A earns $300,000 per year but Spouse B will have their shared children 90% of the time after the divorce, the court is unlikely to accept any agreement that leaves Spouse B without the assets or income they need to meet those children’s needs. Even if Spouse A contributed the most financially, the court will also consider Spouse B’s non-financial contributions.

While the court uses the concept of equitable distribution, these decisions aren’t often left up to the court. It’s more common for couples to negotiate and come to a division agreement with the help of their attorneys.

Weighing Obligations and Benefits

As you consider how you want to handle your shared real estate, think about both the benefits and the drawbacks that come with owning real estate. Real estate is a stable investment that generally increases in value year after year, and it can also be a strong source of income if you live in an area with lots of renters. However, it also requires you to either be a landlord or pay for a property management service, keep the property in a habitable condition, and handle the taxes that come with being a landlord. For some, the benefits of owning property outweigh everything else. For others, having the other party buy them out is the more appealing option.

Using Liquid Assets for a Fair Division of Assets

In high-asset divorces, it’s common to use liquid assets to balance out the division of assets during divorce. Imagine that you no longer want to own real estate investments and you want to strike out on your own as a business owner. Your spouse may agree to buy you out by granting you a larger share of the marital retirement funds or cash. This streamlines the process and can make it easier for both parties to get what they want out of the divorce.

Selling Shared Real Estate

What happens when neither party wants to keep the real estate? Owning real estate investments is a significant responsibility and it does sometimes happen that neither spouse wants to take that on alone. In this scenario, the parties sell the real estate and split the proceeds equitably. 

This can be a bit more time-consuming than the other solutions, as it involves staging the home, contracting with a real estate agent, and cooperating throughout the selling process for each piece of property. But once you make it through that, both parties get what they are owed and can walk away with those financial ties severed. Many divorcing couples find that selling shared real estate gives them a sense of relief and the freedom to move on with their new life.

Whether you know how you want to handle your shared real estate or you’re still not sure what the best option is, it’s good to begin planning for this step early, as it may be one of the most complex parts of your divorce.

Prepare for Your Divorce with Pence Law Firm

The Charleston divorce attorneys at Pence Law Firm are here to help you work through the division of assets, child support, child custody agreements, and the various other major decisions you must make during divorce. Let’s sit down and talk about what matters most to you. Just contact us online or call us at 304-407-7852.