Divorcing in the middle of a build or a remodel

It is no secret that remodeling or building a home can be expensive and time consuming. From the discovery of a hidden mold problem to the difficulty of choosing new fixtures and design elements, this process can also create stress that almost inevitably weighs on a family while the project is ongoing or recently completed. In some cases, the difficulties experienced during a home renovation project may speak to larger issues that eventually give way to the end of a relationship when the project is finished.

This scenario is more common than one might think, according to real estate brokers, architects, and interior designers. Whether a project is just finished or has yet to be completed and a couple decides to end their marriage, the situation tends to give rise to a host of financial issues that may ultimately affect the couple’s property division settlement.

For example, many people take out home equity loans or use credit cards to finance a remodeling project. When the project is over and a divorce is pending, there may be some dispute over who is responsible for the debt, particularly if one spouse led the project and managed the costs mostly on their own.

In addition, there is the issue of who should keep the home or if it must be sold and the profits or losses shared between both parties. In some cases, a house designed by two dueling parties can wind up being difficult to sell when the finished project is disjointed in ways that might not be attractive to prospective buyers.

When financial issues related to building or remodeling arise, divorcing couples will need to speak with their attorneys in order to come to a fair agreement about who should be held responsible for any related losses and who should benefit from related assets or positive income.

Source: New York Observer, “Until Decorating Do Us Part: When Renovations End in Divorce,” Kim Velsey, March 12, 2014

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