Responsibilities of Joint Homeownership After a Divorce
by Family Law Attorney Claudia Pernudi email@example.com (Thank you Claudia!)
Parties who own a home as Husband and Wife (tenants by the entirety) become tenants in common upon the entry of a Final Judgment or divorce decree. As tenants in common BOTH parties have an obligation to pay for and maintain the home until its sale. As an example, let’s say Husband and Wife divorce and have a 13 year old child. The parties agree that when their child is 18, they will sell the home and equally split the sales proceeds. The Wife and child will live in the home while the Husband pays the monthly mortgage, tax and insurance payments.
At the time the home is sold, the Husband is entitled to receive a credit for half of the mortgage, tax and insurance payments he made while the Wife lived in the home with the minor child. In other words, the Husband will be reimbursed for half the payments he made at the time of closing. Similarly, if the Wife made reasonable and necessary repairs to maintain the home (roof repair, A/C repair, etc.), she too is entitled to a credit for half the payment. As you can see, keeping a record of these expenses becomes important for the bottom line.
Of course, the above is one example. There exist other variables which can affect a person’s responsibility or what credit and, hence, what proceeds each person will ultimately receive at the time of the sale. It is important to have a knowledgeable family law attorney help you navigate the divorce process to safeguard your rights and minimize your obligations.