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Deciding what to do with the family home after a divorce

The family home is usually the most valuable asset that a divorcing couple owns. Therefore, deciding whether or not it should be sold is often a contentious issue during property division negotiations. Spouses in Georgia may choose to give up their rights to ownership of the family residence by signing a quitclaim deed, but doing so sometimes leads to even more acrimonious legal battles in the future.

Lenders are not swayed by the provisions of divorce agreements when mortgages fall into arrears. This means that divorced spouses may find themselves responsible for bringing delinquent home loans up to date months or even years after signing quitclaim deeds. These delinquent payments can also be ruinous to credit scores and make future borrowing extremely difficult. Spouses who wish to avoid such situations should ensure that all joint loans secured by property are satisfied before ceding their ownership rights to those properties.

To avoid future legal complications, the disposition of a family home during divorce negotiations should be approached like a property purchase. Title searches could reveal issues such as liens or defects that add an additional layer of complexity. Furthermore, home appraisals and inspections may reveal that the home in question is not worth quite as much as the divorcing spouses think it is.

An experienced family law attorney may advise their client to consider the costs of maintenance and upkeep when deciding what to do about the family home. Legal counsel could also point out that becoming overly attached to any asset during property division talks leaves one open to exploitation. When traditional negotiations are deadlocked and an amicable solution seems unlikely, an attorney could suggest pursuing alternative approaches such as mediation or collaborative divorce to avoid protracted and public court disputes.

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