Cindy Allen & Associates PLLC

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Dealing with the primary residence in divorce cases

When Oklahoma couples choose to divorce, their primary residence is often the most valuable asset discussed during property division negotiations. These decisions are often difficult due to the memories involved, but spouses may be able to make more prudent choices if they can put their emotions to one side and focus on the practical considerations instead. Selling the property in question and dividing the profits may be the simplest solution, but it may make more sense in some situations for one party to buy out the other's share.

When both spouses want to move on and are eager for a fresh start, negotiations over their primary residence are usually fairly straightforward. However, poring over the fine print of listing contracts and dealing with realtors and prospective buyers can be frustrating for couples already under a great deal of stress. Matters can also become contentious when one spouse wants to accept an early bid while the other wishes to hold out for a better offer.

There are also pitfalls to avoid when one spouse wishes to buy out the other. People sometimes wish to stay in their homes for sentimental reasons, but covering real estate taxes and maintenance costs can be difficult on a single income. Refinancing may be necessary when a mortgage is involved because lenders generally ignore property division agreements and pursue both signatories when loans fall into arrears.

Experienced family law attorneys may urge their clients to think carefully before choosing to keep a large home. Decisions made in haste are often regretted months or years later, and simply covering utilities can be burdensome for those living on a fixed income. Attorneys could also point out that spouses sometimes use assets that have great sentimental value as emotional bargaining chips during asset negotiations.

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