Divorce is never an easy process, but it can be particularly difficult when spouses share assets. Spouses can be particularly, understandably concerned about their real estate investments. Many don’t see the family home as a financial asset. Instead, they are emotionally tethered to it.
If you are concerned about keeping your house in a divorce, here are some steps you can take. They could help ensure that you retain sole ownership of your assets.
Iowa's Property Division Laws in a Divorce
Essentially, the state follows an equitable distribution model. This means that all assets acquired during the marriage are labeled “marital property,” and they are subject to division.
The court’s goal is to divide the assets fairly, not necessarily equally.
The court will consider a variety of factors to achieve a fair distribution, including:
- The duration of the marriage
- Each spouse's income and earning potential
- The contributions of each party to acquiring and maintaining the property in question
Claiming Entitlement to the Family Home
When you argue that property should belong to you after the divorce, you are claiming entitlement to that property.
There are many ways to make this claim. Some of the most popular are the primary use, contribution, and/or maintenance arguments.
This refers to the fact that one spouse is the primary user of a particular asset, such as a vehicle or a piece of furniture. A stay-at-home parent may have a good argument for being the primary user of the home.
This refers to the amount of money, effort, or time that each spouse has invested in the acquisition, maintenance, or improvement of marital property. For instance, if one spouse initiated and oversaw remodeling projects, they could make a contribution claim.
This refers to the fact that one spouse has been responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of a particular asset, such as a home. If one spouse can show that they have been primarily responsible for the maintenance of a particular asset during the marriage, they may be entitled to a larger share of that asset in the divorce settlement.
The Home As Separate Property
If one spouse owned the home before the marriage, they may be entitled to keep it. However, if the other spouse contributed significantly to the upkeep and/or mortgage payments during the marriage, they may have a claim to a portion of the home’s equity.
The Tax Implications of Selling or Keeping the Family Home in an Iowa Divorce
If the home is sold, any profits made from the sale may be subject to capital gains taxes.
However, when one spouse keeps the home, they may be able to claim a capital gains exclusion if they sell the property in the future.
A court should consider each spouse’s financial circumstances and the tax implications before deciding who can keep the home.
If a couple plans to make divorce agreements outside of court, they should consult with a tax professional. Their agreement should include specific language regarding the division of any tax liabilities that may arise.
Refinancing Options to Pay Off Debts and Avoid Foreclosure in an Iowa Divorce
Refinancing your mortgage can help you avoid foreclosure. In Iowa, there are multiple refinancing options available. They can help you simplify your finances and reduce your financial burden.
A cash-out refinance allows you to borrow against your home's equity and pay off your debts in one lump sum.
A rate-and-term refinance can lower your monthly payments and interest rate, making debt repayment more manageable.
Fighting for any asset in a divorce is a difficult, complex process. The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLC is here to help. Let us review your case by calling (515) 200-7571 or contacting us online.