In divorce mediation, we spend a lot of time discussing where the parties will live after divorce. If the couple owns their home, we need to create a reasonable plan for how will they move forward. For many families, the marital home is their biggest asset, and one or both partners may want to sell it to have the cash on hand to finance their new life. Each party can use the proceeds from the sale of the home to buy or rent something different and/or more affordable. We always remind our clients that for many people, the first place they live post-divorce is not necessarily where they will ultimately end up – but may be more of an interim step while they adjust to their new circumstances post-divorce.
In other divorce mediation cases, one party moves out and the other stays in the marital home. In these cases, one spouse may assume the mortgage and pay the other spouse their equity in the home. Often times, this may require the party keeping the house in the divorce agreement to refinance the mortgage in their name only.
Recently, as the costs of refinancing have gone up, many divorcing couples are agreeing to own their home together for a set amount of time – maybe until the kids graduate high school—and setting a future date for the house sale. They may continue to jointly own the home but only one party remains living in the marital home. In these scenarios, we make sure that we address in mediation all of the issues around home ownership – mortgage, insurance, maintenance, utilities, repairs, taxes, etc. to minimize any disputes between the ex-spouses during the post-divorce ownership period.
One of the main benefits of divorce mediation is that it provides divorcing couples with an opportunity to hash out different ideas and possibilities in a comfortable environment with a neutral mediator. The current higher mortgage rates make these conversations especially important. In mediation, parties can work together calmly and productively to reach a post-divorce housing plan that makes sense for their family.
For more information on divorce and divorce mediation, please contact Randi M. Albert, JD, or Michelle Weinberg, M.Ed., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, at Westfield Mediation, LLC at 908.913.0373. View our website at www.westfieldnjmediation.com or email us at email@example.com.