“We Gotta Get Out Of This Place,” isn’t just a 1960s hit rock by The Animals. It also often describes the need to sell the family home when a baby boomer couple is divorcing.
As we stated in our last blog, “The New York Times” reported that even though the overall divorce rate has stabilized in the past twenty years, baby boomer divorces have increased 50 percent.
We see in our mediations that there are several special considerations facing divorcing couples in their 50s and 60s. For example, they are most often the group who want to sell their home, downsizing to pay for their children’s college or to finance their retirement. Or they’ve suddenly become empty nesters at the same time as they’re splitting up, and the family home is now just too big and too expensive.
You may have both agreed in mediation to sell the family home when you divorce, or to sell it upon the triggering of a certain event, such as your last child finishing high school. If so, watch out for several factors:
Talk to a tax expert, especially if your house has appreciated greatly in value: If your house is your primary residence, you want to make sure you get the full $500,000 tax exemption you’re entitled to on your profits. (That’s $250,000 per owner.) Even if one ex lives in the house longer than the other, a tax expert can suggest ways to preserve both exemptions upon sale.
Leave Enough Space: Moving into a one-bedroom might seem like an economically wise decision until you realize you want your college son or daughter to stay home for the summer. Or a grandchild to stay over. So be realistic about how much space you’ll need when downsizing.
Don’t Sell yourself Short: Couples often come into a mediation thinking they’re on the same page when it comes to a sales price for the home. But what happens if it doesn’t sell? In mediation, discuss the amount of time you’re willing to have the house sit on the market before you slash the price and how much you’re willing to reduce it.
A Home is Whose Castle? In mediations, we see often couples fighting over access to the house when they’ve agreed that one spouse should live in it until it’s sold. A mother might say: I live there, I’m entitled to full privacy. While the father says: I’m still an owner. I should have Moncler outlet the right to inspect the house and see that it’s being maintained. Discuss both concerns in mediation. One parent living in the house can work, as long as everyone is clear about boundaries and rights.
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