Dealing With Real Estate in a Divorce

One of the underappreciated aspects of the dramatic fall in U.S. housing prices over the past five years is the havoc the market has played in a divorce proceeding.  Whereas when the market was booming, the key task was to resolve the split of equity in the property, these days issues such as what happens if the spouse retaining ownership of the home defaults on the mortgage predominate.  Similarly, what do you do when the spouse retaining ownership cannot refinance the property and remove the non-owning spouse from the mortgage obligation (either because of damaged credit or a lack of funds necessary to pay off a loan which exceeds the value of the property)? 

My good friend, Lymari J. Santana , a partner in the firm of Mack & Santana, a family law firm which is “Of Counsel” to my own Firm, tackle these and other issues in our recently released article “Creative Solutions from Practitioners in Dealing with Real Property Issues and the Increase in Drafting Language to Deal with the Possibility of Foreclosures in J&Ds” , published in the Winter 2011 edition of the “Family Law Forum”, a publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Family Law Section.

This is not the first time Lymari and I have teamed up to talk about this issue.  Lymari’s Firm shares the title of “legal partner” with my Firm for the Real Estate Radio Hour, and we devoted an entire program this past summer to this issue.  You can listen to it here.

Divorce is tough enough without having to deal with these types of hassles; unfortunately, until housing prices normalize and inventory decreases, more people are going to have to deal with these difficult decisions.  Hopefully the information Lymari and I have set out in the article and on the air will be of some assistance to people considering divorce as well as their attorneys.