Co-Owning a House After Divorce

Family home in Washington StateDeciding how to handle the marital home is one of the trickier parts of a divorce. It is one of — if not the — largest assets that couples have, so it often becomes a heated topic and form of leverage during divorce proceedings. Most couples either sell it and divide the profit or one spouse trades an asset of equal value to keep the home. There are more unique types of arrangements too, such as co-owning a house after divorce.

When Would Ex-spouses Want To Co-own a Home?

There are unusual situations in which co-owning a home is most viable option. For instance, if you are upside down in your mortgage or the housing market is poor, you might want to keep the home until home prices improve. One party may live in it or you can rent it out until it sells.

However, be forewarned that co-owning a house with your ex after the judge has finalized your divorce is rarely a good idea. Given the circumstances, it is likely that neither of you is genuinely looking out for the other’s best financial interests, which can make co-owning a home a very risky endeavor.

For instance, your ex may be motivated by anger or spite and purposely thwart the sale of the home or let it deteriorate to decrease its value. It seems petty and wrong (and it is), but it happens. If your ex does not hold up to his end of the deal, you would wind up losing interest or the home altogether.

How Do I Protect My Interest if I Must Co-own a Home With My Ex?

If co-owning a home is the only real option that you have, then you will need to work closely with your lawyer when creating your marital settlement agreement.

You must make sure to lay out the ownership agreement very clearly and account for all contingencies. The agreement should include precise stipulations for all pertinent factors, including:

  • The date you will put the home on the market
  • Information about the selection of the real estate agent and the home’s listing price
  • Provisions for the upkeep of the house
  • Plan B in case the house does not sell after a given period of time
  • How to resolve disputes if you do not agree on something

Do you have other assets to divide with your ex? Browse our legal articles about asset division.

For help with complicated family law issues such as property division in Washington, contact my firm, The Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny at 425-460-0550 to schedule a private consultation. 

Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney
Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny