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The fight over real estate during divorce

Couples going through a divorce might find that they have plenty to disagree on or divide -- from where children will go to school to who gets Aunt Linda's antique vase -- and settling questions and disagreements can be time-consuming and stressful. One area where property division is getting increasingly complex is real estate.

Part of the reason real estate division is difficult for couples today is because of rapidly changing home values. For many couples, home values have decreased, so real estate may not even be worth what is owed on it. Instead of having an asset to divide, couples now have a debt to contend with.

There are numerous ways to work out real estate division in a divorce. If there is equity in the home, the couple might decide to sell it and split the proceeds. If there is not equity, the couple might decide to short sell and split the debt.

In many cases, one person desires to remain in the home. This is often true if there are minor children involved, because couples might be looking to maintain stability for the children where possible. In such cases, one person might refinance the home so it is only in his or her name. If the home is fully owned, one person might buy the other's interest in the real estate.

Sometimes, couples leave the mortgage as is and one person makes support payments to the other. This can be a difficult situation, though, as it keeps the couple tied together financially despite being divorced. Deciding the best way to move forward with real estate division -- and getting the job done right -- can take professional assistance. Working with a lawyer helps protect your rights and solidify your future during a time of great change.

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