A post divorce prospective client, Linda*, called me last week. She signed her divorce decree over a year earlier and is now trying to divide property and accounts. Linda was awarded the home and previously unidentified expenses have come up. She may have to sell the home as is, at a reduced value. Likely proceeds from the sale will be well below the appraised amount used in negations a year earlier.
In a rush to get a settlement in place or to save attorney fees divorcing couples are missing expenses that should be negotiated. One important expense is deferred maintenance on the home.
Most homeowners defer maintenance on the home. In divorce, appraisals may or may not catch repairs needed. Divorce financial analysts and many attorneys recommend that couples hire a home inspector to report on maintenance required. The report will show required maintenance repairs but may not show the costs – including the expense when a homeowner must move out of the home in order for repairs to take place. These expenses must be estimated and addressed during divorce negotiations.
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