A home you own is one of the biggest assets that most divorcing couples need to decide how to split during their divorce process. Often, it comes down to the couple selling their real estate and splitting the proceeds (although not always). When you’re looking to sell a home, it’s always a best practice to make necessary repairs so that you can maximize your profit.
When it comes to home repairs, you may be wondering if you have to make them during your divorce. The short answer is yes, in most cases you do – and you will often also want to.
Remember, we are not attorneys or accountants and this is not legal advice; whenever you have questions about assets, financial division, and what is and is not required during your specific divorce, you should always consult the proper professional.
Home Repairs During Divorce
During a divorce, home repairs can be a contentious issue. On one hand, some may see them as an opportunity to improve their home in order to make it more attractive to potential buyers – and likely result in a higher sale price. On the other hand, some couples may be reluctant to spend money on repairs that could potentially disrupt their already-fragile financial concerns. Ultimately, whether or not to make repairs during a divorce will depend on the specific circumstances of each case.
There are pros and cons to making repairs during a divorce. The benefits of repairing your home can include reducing levels of stress caused by home failures, improving your resale value, and restoring peace of mind. Conversely, making unnecessary repairs can lead to added stress and possibly even conflict within the relationship, and of course end up making the divorce cost more overall – although some of this particular expense may be recouped through higher resale value. Therefore, it is important to weigh all of the factors before deciding whether or not to make any home repairs during a divorce.
What are the Requirements?
There are some general home repair requirements that must be met during a divorce. Most importantly, property must usually be divided equitably between the spouses, and any repairs or replacements that need to be made to the marital home must be done in a way that is equitable and does not favor one spouse over the other. Additionally, any renovations or additions to the marital home must also comply with applicable zoning laws.
Sometimes, a divorcing couple will have filed formal separation documents with the court, and that may outline what is and is not required or allowed. Always consult these documents and any other orders of the court.
What Types of Repairs Can I Make?
There are many home repairs that a divorcing couple may need to make, depending on the situation and what is broken. These can include things like fixing a leaky faucet, repairing drywall damage, or addressing safety concerns like a missing railing.
In most cases, it is not necessary for one spouse to make all the repairs in order for the divorce process to continue smoothly. However, it is important to discuss which repairs need to be made and who will be responsible for them. This can help avoid any resentment or animosity later on in the divorce process.
Both parties should come to a mutual agreement as to what repairs are necessary and will help increase the sale value of the home. This type of mutual agreement and communication is essential to a collaborative divorce process. A real estate agent can often assist with the process by providing you with a Comparative Market Analysis, and a home inspector can determine if any of the systems in the home need immediate repairs.
It’s also important to determine who the cost of the repairs will be split – either now, or if one party pays up front and is reimbursed for the other spouse’s portion at the time of closing.
Studies have proven that a collaborative divorce provides better outcomes for both spouses and the children. OurDivorce.com was developed specifically to assist divorcing couples through a more amicable divorce process to help achieve those better outcomes.
Who Decides Whether or Not We Need to Repair Our House?
When couples get divorced, one of the most important decisions they must make is whether or not to repair their house. It’s not always about selling; sometimes a couple will need to make repairs in order to keep their home livable for the partner that will be receiving the home during the property division, or even more importantly any children that will continue living in the home.
However, this decision does not always fall along party lines. In some cases, one spouse may feel as though it is their responsibility to take care of the home and make repairs while the other spouse may be more comfortable moving on and allowing someone else to take care of the repairs. Ultimately, it is up to each couple to decide what is best for them and their home.
Remember, any decisions that you are not able to make together will end up being decided by someone else – lawyers or judge; so it’s almost always in your best interest to work together to make these decisions.
How Do We Get Started on Repairs?
If you are in the midst of a divorce, it is important to have a plan for making home repairs. There are a few things you will need to consider before getting started:
- What type of repairs do you think you will need? You always need to repair problems that would risk the safety or security of the property. This could include things like roofing, windows, framing, and insulation.
- Who will be responsible for making the repairs? This can be one or both of you depending on the agreement reached during your divorce. If one party is responsible for all the repairs, they may want to make sure they have all the necessary insurance coverage in case something goes wrong.
- How do you want to divide up responsibilities? This includes things like who will make the appointment to have the repairs done and who will pay for them. It can also involve deciding where funds should be allocated so that both parties can afford them without having to borrow money from friends or family members.
Where Do We Go For Advice and Help?
If you’re going through a divorce, it’s important to know where to go for advice and help. There are many resources available, and your lawyer or other professionals can help you find the right ones. However, there are also a number of places where you can get information and support on your own. Here are some places to start:
- Talk to friends or family members and ask for recommendations for professionals they have used and trust.
- Talk to a real estate agent.
- Schedule a home inspection.
- Talk to appropriate contractors.
If We are Already Divorced, Is It Worth It to Make These Repairs Now?
If you are already divorced and the home is still owned and occupied by one spouse or the other, there may not be the same benefit to making home repairs now. A big exception to this is if children from the marriage currently live in or visit the property regularly depending upon custody arrangements, and failing to make the repairs could impact their safety or health. In these cases, it’s important for both parents to do their part of keeping the children safe.
Otherwise, it’s usually the case that only the spouse living in the house will make ongoing repairs unless something else has been agreed to or ordered as part of the divorce settlement.
Yes, in most cases it’s worth making home repairs during your divorce. If you have any questions about what repairs you should or should not undertake, you might want to consult with an attorney and financial advisor before getting started on any major projects.
Remember, we are not attorneys, and our articles should not be taken as legal advice. We always recommend that you consult a professional if you have specific questions related to your personal circumstances.
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