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Divorce and Real Estate

Divorce lawyers in Santa Clara, Alameda, and Monterey Counties are certainly familiar with the relationship between divorce and real estate. Spouses who have not worked could view the real estate market as their ticket to financial freedom, provided that they are able to win a settlement that is sufficiently bolstered by a large amount of equity. Conversely, the breadwinner could decide that a division of community property would still afford him or her a comfortable single life. Therefore, the decision to separate may be palliated, or even solidified, by a profit made from selling the marital home. According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, unhappy couples caught in the middle of a “real estate-enabled divorce” are scrambling to cash in on their homes and make a quick profit on their equity. This trend is especially notable in areas where those who have managed to hold on to their homes in the midst of a faltering real estate market could stand to generate a sizeable profit.

Although it was not the initial cause for divorce, the value of the property Susan Katz shares with her husband became the overarching concern throughout the development of their divorce proceedings. Indeed, Katz represents a growing contingent of individuals for whom real estate plays a primary role in the decision to obtain a divorce. Elyse Goldstein, a psychologist from the Upper East Side of New York who was quoted in the Tribune article, found that half of the couples she has seen in recent years regard real estate as a relationship issue, and 15 percent view it as a serious one.
However, Katz believes that many women have an exaggerated idea of what their financial compensation will look like once they have obtained a divorce settlement. And she should know-the Long Island fashion industry sales executive has been enmeshed in a three-year divorce battle with her ex husband that has cost the couple over $350,000 in legal fees. “Women think when they get divorced they can have half of the house,” says Katz. “Most women don’t realize how much this house is mortgaged.” Individuals looking to file a divorce petition in Santa Clara County, for example, should be certain to schedule a consultation with a family attorney who can advise them of their options for cashing in on the value of a home, or buying the home from their estranged spouse.