It used to be that our divorce clients would argue about who gets to keep the house. Now, with many houses worth less than their mortgages, divorcing couples face tough choices. Sarah Portlock writes in an article at NJ.Com that the considerations are:
1. Do they keep the house now and try selling it next year?
2. If they wait, will its value go up or down?
3. Can they rely on a short sale?
4. What happens if they just stop paying the mortgage?
5. Is one spouse willing to buy out the other, own the home and assume all risk?
6. Where are the parties and their children going to live?
If they cannot agree, they can ask the divorce court to decide. But the judge is likely to order the house sold by a Trustee. The Trustee charges a fee and may auction the house off on the courthouse steps. The mortgage company can sue the couple for any shortfall if the sales proceeds are less than the mortgage and costs of sale.