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How a house might be divided during a divorce

Orange County couples who are getting a divorce and who are home owners might need to decide how they will dividetheir residence. Some people might not want to live in the family home because they find it too painful. Others may be unable to afford to do so.

However, for those who can afford it and are emotionally prepared to do it, the first step may be to buy out a spouse. The party who keeps the home might need to refinance so that the other one is removed from the mortgage. If that isn't possible, the couple may also decide that they will both continue to own the home while one party lives there.

The couple could also sell the home and split what they sell it for although this might not be a 50/50 division. How the money is divided might depend on who made the down payment among other factors.

Property division can be a complex part of a divorce. People may need to negotiate how to divide businesses and retirement accounts. Some assets may require additional paperwork and processes to divide. For example, a form known as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order is necessary for splitting a 401(k). People should also understand how property division will affect their taxes, and their attorneys will remind them that they should take factors such as their respective incomes into account. For example, if one person has a significantly higher salary than the other, a 50/50 split might not be fair because the higher-earning party can quickly replenish what was lost. If couples cannot agree on a settlement, then they might have to have the issue decided by a judge.

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