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Client Divorce Advice: What About the House?

  • By Robert D. Bordett, CFP®, CDFA®
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  • May 14, 2019

When clients are going through a divorce, that means dealing with hundreds of details, some more important than others. One detail that merits extra contemplation is how to deal with the marital home.

Does one spouse want to keep it because the children still live there? You don’t want to disrupt their lives any more than is already happening.

What if the children are grown? Do you still need that much of a house?

Here are the three most common means for clients to deal with a house in divorce:

Selling the house and dividing the proceeds. Clients could possibly owe capital gains on the house or they may not. Make sure that they know what their adjusted basis is for the house, for tax purposes.

One spouse wants to buy the other spouse out. The purchasing spouse should check their credit and determine if they can get a mortgage — and whether they can afford the payments and upkeep of the house.

Keeping the house for a while. Maintaining joint ownership may work, or it may not work. Clients should try to anticipate all of the things that can go wrong with owning the house with their former spouse.

Having a divorce professional like a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) ensures that all these details are attended to, and that all considerations are weighed. In addition to real-world knowledge about things like real estate, I have an extensive network of related divorce and financial professionals who assist in assuring fair outcomes in difficult situations.

To see how I can help your clients in divorce and related matters, please contact me.

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Author Bio

Financial advisors face few challenges as emotionally charged and potentially difficult as clients trapped in family conflict. Just ask Robert D. (Bob) Bordett. Whether it’s marital separation or divorce, the care of elderly family members or death and estate settlement, an advisor’s knowledge of a client’s finances is never enough; industry professionals must be able to help families set conflict aside, seek agreement and preserve valuable assets. A Certified Financial Planner and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, Bob Bordett has devoted much of his career guiding couples, families and business partners through difficult situations to arrive at fair and practical solutions. As Senior Vice President of Atlanta’s Consolidated Planning Corporation, Bob specializes in mediation, collaborative divorce, divorce planning and financial planning. He maintains a private practice, Collaborative Practice and Mediation Services, Inc., applying Alternative Dispute Resolution methods while serving as a financial neutral. Bob is also a Registered Mediator and Arbitrator with the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution. A recognized expert on financial issues impacting divorce, Bob has published widely, appeared on CNN, spoken at a variety of conferences and led seminars across the country. He has held leadership positions in a number of industry associations including the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the Institute of Certified Financial Planners and the Family Mediation Association of Georgia. He is a founding member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators and serves on the board of the Professional Mediation Board of Standards. But perhaps most importantly, Bob brings genuine compassion, commitment and a desire for positive outcomes to every client’s unique circumstances. Bob frequently partners with Marsha Schechtman, LCSW, who brings a deep understanding of family dynamics plus expertise in communication strategies to her work. For a representative list of Bob’s speaking topics, please visit the Speaking page under the Services section.