Stepfamilies Try to Stretch Their Space
Family Home in Divorce Part VI

Family Home in Divorce Part V

By Warren R. Shiell

The following information is specific to California.

Holding onto the house in joint names


            When the house market is depressed, spouses may want to hold onto the property in joint names until house prices rise again. Most couples will want to hold the property as tenants in common. You will want to retain an experienced family law attorney in this situation since there are considerable risks for both parties. Any agreement should clearly specify who is responsible for housing costs such as mortgage payments, insurance, property taxes and maintenance and repairs. An agreement should also specify how risk will be allocated in the event of damage or loss and how adequate insurance coverage will be maintained. The parties will also have to agree on the time-table for selling the house. Sometimes it is linked to the children’s ages and completion of school. It may be linked to a limited time period – say two to three years – based on speculation as to when house prices will rise. Once the time period expires, the house will either be placed for sale on the market or the parties have the option of buying out the other at an agreed upon formula.


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