Moving On: Smart Choices in Divorce & Real Estate


Carrie and Kira are the authors of the up-coming book “Moving On: Smart Choices in Divorce & Real Estate. We wrote this book for anyone who owns property, wants to protect their assets, and provide a safe, secure and stable home for themselves and their family — whether you are thinking about ending your marriage, in the process of, or transitioning to life after the split.

The goal in writing this book is to provide you with a supportive platform that helps you to move on, both literally and figuratively. Each chapter delves into the nitty gritty of anything and everything related to divorce and real estate, including keeping the marital home, emotional ties, qualifying for a mortgage, minimizing capital gains taxes, and how to effortlessly sell your home for the maximum value. We will share our own in-depth knowledge and experience, as well as insights from industry experts. Each chapter will be full of facts and inspirational wisdom, that will translate directly into easy-to-follow positive action steps that will show you how to move on with hope, clarity, and purpose.

Table of Contents

Home Sweet Home

For some of us, our home is everything: it's where we raise our kids, have family meals, and entertain friends and relatives. We don't want the break down of our marriage to affect the harmony of our home. This chapter looks at how to protect the sanctuary that represents home to you, and how to recreate it should a change of location be in your future. * Your home is integral to your well being. * You want to provide a safe, nurturing environment for yourself and your children. * How to stay calm and centered even as circumstances are shifting around you. * Tips for creating continuity of "home" no matter what your address might be. * How to set up your space to reflect your goals, dreams and desires.

Emotional Ties

What to do with the house in a divorce can be both an emotional issue as well as a business transaction. How do you fully experience and honor your emotions, while at the same time keep them from sabotaging an important financial decision that may affect you and your family for years to come? In this chapter we consider all of your options, and explore the pathways to making clear, and well-thought out decisions. * You are feeling overwhelmed by emotions. * You are paralyzed, and cannot make any concrete decisions regarding your house and living arrangements. * You want to create the best possible living situation for you and your family. * Tools for dealing with emotions, and healthy outlets for expression. * Ways to be grateful for your home, yet still find solutions to move forward. * Suggestions for pathways forward, and the tools to make sound decisions.

Let's Talk: How to Communicate And Reach Agreements Effectively with Your Spouse/Ex

Talking to your ex can be challenging at the best of times, in potentially stressful times, it's practically impossible! And in a real estate transaction there are so many important issues to agree on: when to put the property on the market, how to price it, how to prepare it for showings, and how to handle any offers. In this chapter we address these and other issues, and go over both creative solutions as well as negotiating skills. * You have trouble communicating with your spouse/ex. * You are overwhelmed with all of the joint decisions that need to be made. * You want to learn to communicate effectively, and achieve results that lead to a successful transaction. * How to recognize potential hot buttons, and learn about ways in which to defuse conflict. * How to get past any walls of resistance and into a place of peace and cooperation. * About the building blocks for effective communication.

Who's House Is It? Exploring Separate or Marital Property

Was the house bought before or after the marriage? Has it increased or decreased in value over time? What part of the house belongs to you? How are home improvements made with marriage-era earnings treated? In this chapter we explore the differences between separate and marital property, and how to determine your portion of the equity in your shared real estate asset. * You want to know what portion of the house you are entitled to. * You have questions about marital and separate property. * You want to protect your asset base, and make clear, well-thought out decisions for your future. * What CA Law defines as marital and separate property, and how to determine the value in your home. * The difference between asset value and asset worth.

Keeping the House At All Costs

Keeping the house may be what your heart desires, but it is it good for your bottom line? What are the pros of staying in your house? Stability for the kids, continuity of routine, familiarity, ease of transition, keeping an asset in tact, etc. What are the cons? It's too expensive: the mortgage, maintenance, taxes and insurance are all overwhelming for one person. A common issue most people face in divorce is considering too few options. In this chapter we will determine the ballpark total costs of owning, as well as explore all of the pros, cons and options when it comes to your home and divorce. * You want to make clear, well-thought out decisions that are in your and your children's best interests. * You are thinking about, or are in the process of, divorce and own a home. * You are wondering if you can afford to maintain your family home on your own. * What the best decision is for you based on your current circumstances. * Who to turn to for support and expertise in this field. * What the true costs are of keeping your home, and what your other options may be to consider.

The Great Divide: How Do You Split a House?

Many couples when getting unmarried have to decide how to split one of their largest assets: their home. Since it is impossible (and not necessarily desirable!) to cut a house in half, we look at the three most common ways to divide this asset: 1. Sell the house and divide the proceeds equitably; 2. One spouse buys the other spouse out; 3. Both spouses continue to own the property jointly, and maybe plan for a "deferred sale" at a later date. In this chapter we examine all of the possible and practical ways to accomplish the three above scenarios. * You are thinking about divorce and own a home. * You are concerned about finances and asset division. * You want to find out if you can afford to keep your home. * The easiest and cleanest way to split this asset. * How to figure out the basis value of your home. * What capital gains taxes are and how they may affect you.

Fair Market Value

Negotiating a divorce property settlement depends on a fair, impartial and accurate assessment of the value of the property to be divided. But, who should determine how much the real estate is worth? This is an important figure that you and your spouse/ex with need to know and agree on! There are several ways to determine the current market value, and in this chapter we explore each avenue, examining the relative strengths, weaknesses and costs associated. * You would like to know a ballpark estimate of what your home is worth. * You would like to learn about the importance of the market value, and how that can help you in deciding to sell or not to sell. * You are interested in market trends, conditions, and comparable properties. * About Market Analyses and how they are performed and determined. * About Appraisals and how they are performed and determined. * How the fair market value factors into a settlement decision, and how you can best plan for your future.

Am I Qualified?

Is refinancing an option so you can buy your spouse out of the house? Can you qualify for a new loan under your name only? Whether you want to refinance the family home so you can keep it, or are looking to purchase a new home for a fresh start, a reliable mortgage broker is a must! In this session we look at what is possible with the professionals. * You are looking for creative financial solutions. * You want to know definitely what you can afford and what your options are. * About credit, and various loan options. * What you type of loan you can qualify for, and how to make the most of your situation.

It's All in the Title

Title to property can possibly affect your sale, and may also play a factor in your divorce and settlement. Are you on your home's title? How does your title read? Are there any liens affecting the salability of your house? In this chapter we look at ways to check for liens, and explore various ways holding title can affect a sale or settlement, and how you can transfer title or hold title after a divorce. * You own property and are not sure about how title will affect your sale or settlement. * You want to learn about how holding title after divorce can influence your bottom line. * You want to protect your assets, and think title is the way to do it. * How to check your title for liens. * How to transfer your title in a way that makes sense for you and your spouse/ex. * How to potentially minimize capitals gains taxes through ownership.

Keeping Uncle Sam At Bay: Tax Issues for Sale of Your Family Home

No one likes taxes! It's boring, stressful, and unpleasant just to think about them. We make this chapter accessible, exciting and engaging, and will hopefully help you to save thousands of dollars in the process. There are ways to structure your divorce settlement, that can take advantages of certain tax breaks, and minimize the amount that gets paid out to the government. We want to help you take advantage of this knowledge, and use the proceeds from the sale of your home for more important things, like starting your new life! * You want to be smart and protect your assets, and not give unnecessary funds to the government. * You have owned your home for over two years, and have equity in it that you want to keep. * You are ending your marriage and thinking about selling your home. * How to determine the ownership and use period of your residence. * The importance of basis, and how that will affect your taxes. * Possible ways in which to structure a settlement to protect against tax liabilities.

Moving On: Creating Your Fresh Start

You've done your research, you've had your healthy discussions, you've weighed your options, and you've decided to move out of the family home. Where do you go now? Does it make more sense to rent or to buy? What are you really able to afford? In this session we plan for the future, and make moving easy, enjoyable, and something to look forward to. * You are thinking about moving, and don't know where you want to move to. * You are overwhelmed with the thought of moving, and want to explore your options. * You want to shift your perspective, and make this move into something really positive! * About the pros and cons of renting and buying. * Tools for making your move easy, convenient and hassle-free. * What you can afford to spend on your new home.

Nesting and Other Post-Divorce Living Solutions

What is the best post-divorce living situation for you, your spouse and your children? Can you keep the marital home? Would a duplex work? Can the kids "nest" while you and your ex share an apartment on your non-custodial days? Today there are a variety of arrangements, some of which are "out of the box", and in this chapter we explore them all, working together to come up with an option that is best for you and your family. * You are not sure where you or your spouse/ex will live post divorce. * You would like to consider all different sorts of living arrangements, with the goal of finding one that really works. * You put your kids first, and truly want what's best for them. * About creative living arrangements that are kid- and family-friendly. * How to save money, while still providing a comfortable, safe home life for your children.