When couples choose to divorce, the prospect of fairly dividing assets and liabilities can seem overwhelming. This is especially true when a couple owns more complex assets, such as multiple real estate holdings.

For many couples, a family home is the most significant asset they may have between them, which can present a difficult dilemma when it comes to deciding who should keep the home.

If you and your divorcing spouse own one or more piece of real estate, it is very important to carefully and fairly negotiate how you plan to divide up these assets. Unlike other assets like savings accounts or retirement investments, real estate holdings present a number of complications for anyone who chooses to keep them in the split.

It is always wise to consult with an attorney to make sure that you fully understand the property division process. Professional legal counsel can help ensure that you do not overlook certain pitfalls or unintentionally take on an asset you cannot fully support.

When you only have one home

If you are like most married couples, your home is the single largest asset that you own between the two of you. Depending on the nature of your marriage and whether or not you have children, there are a number of ways you may choose to divide your property.

For instance, if you do have children, the parent who receives primary custody of the children often also keeps the home. This does not mean that the spouse who does not keep the home should get nothing. Property division in Connecticut follows “equitable division” principles, which dictate that a couple must reach a “fair” division, although not necessarily an equal division.

If you have no children, a spouse who wishes to keep the home may have to offer the other spouse a greater share of assets to offset the other spouse’s claim to a portion of the value of the home.

In other cases, it is not actually practical to keep a home. If you bought the home with your combined income, neither of you may have enough income to qualify for a mortgage refinance on your single income.

In this case, you may find it best to sell the home and agree on a fair split of the proceeds.

When you own multiple properties

In some cases, couples split who own multiple pieces of real estate. In such a scenario, it is important to understand the complete value and ongoing costs of owning each property. If, for instance, you own four properties and one of them brings in a significantly larger monthly income, but also requires significantly greater ongoing investment to maintain it, owning it may prove more than either of you wish to carry on your own.

Do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of the Connecticut property division process. Proper legal guidance protects both your rights and your assets as you work toward a fair divorce.