However special your home is to you, in terms of a divorce, it is little more than an asset to be valued and factored into the overall scheme of things.
Let’s say you have a million in total assets. The house is worth half a million, and the rest is cash in the bank. If the judge decides to split things equally, they could give you the house and your spouse the cash. Yet, as fair and logical as that seems, it could leave you both unhappy.
First, you might disagree with a 50:50 split. While Texas law seeks an equitable distribution, that does not have to mean half-half. Each spouse can present various factors to argue they should get more.
Second, judging the value of a house is more complex than assessing the value of money in the bank.
Most people have an outstanding mortgage on their homes
You need to work out how much is equity and how much is outstanding debt. A house that a realtor values at half a million is not worth that to you if you still have $300,000 of mortgage to pay off. It’s worth closer to $200,000.
Property values change
You also need to think about the future when assessing the value of your real estate in a divorce. If your neighbors get the go-ahead for an oil well, the constant thunder of trucks could put off anyone looking for a quiet family home and see your house value plummet. Alternatively, if you are the one seeking to drill on your land, getting permission could send the price of your home rocketing.
The simplest thing mathematically is to sell the house, pay off the mortgage and treat what remains as a cash asset to be split. Yet homes are not always about logic. If you have reason to want to keep yours, seek help to understand more about what this means for your overall property division balance.