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Mortgages and savings accounts in divorce

When one spouse tells the other they want a divorce, they might also already have an idea of how property will be divided. The other spouse should keep in mind that just because they have been asked for a certain type of divorce settlement, they are not required to comply with that request. For California couples, one of the first steps will be deciding what counts as marital property.

One man in Maryland was told by his wife that she wanted a divorce and that she would take their savings to buy her own place and help him with the mortgage on their current home. She also said that she would pay half of their son's remaining college expenses. However, the man felt that this arrangement would leave him in a bad position. Since she made more than him, he would barely be able to cover household expenses if he kept the home, and he was concerned about the loss of emergency savings.

In a case like this, there are other options. For example, a better plan might be to sell the house and split the proceeds. Existing assets could also be used to pay down the mortgage.

Whether people are initiating a divorce or it is their spouse who begins the process, they might want to speak to a lawyer about their financial situation. In a high-asset divorce, the situation might be particularly complex. If a prenuptial agreement is in place, it could still be challenged. One spouse might also try to hide assets from the other. People should keep in mind that living in a community property state does not necessarily mean dividing all assets equally. There may be room for negotiation.

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