Real estate is one form of investment that most people consider infallible. While certain areas may experience fluctuations in price, overall, real estate tends to trend upward. Local property values improve with a stronger economy, but population increases also increase demand for housing and land. The longer you hold on to a piece of real estate, the higher the potential increase in value.
Even if you purchased your home at a time when the market was relatively soft and prices were low, you likely think of your house as one of your biggest possessions. Any secondary real estate you own, such as vacation homes, cabins or vacant investment property also represents substantial value when compared with your total household income and assets.
If you know that you will probably get divorced in the near future, it is likely that you have questions about how the Nebraska courts will handle your home and other real estate holdings. While there’s no single solution, knowing the common ways the courts dispose of the marital home can help you make better decisions.
Nebraska uses the community property standard
Assets that you own before marriage are your separate property, while assets you acquire during your marriage are marital property. Any marital assets can wind up divided in a Nebraska divorce. In other words, the real estate holdings that you share with your spouse or that you acquired during marriage are usually subject to division. The courts often split the value of the home by splitting its equity.
Some couples may not have to worry about splitting the equity in their home if they have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that designates the marital home as separate property to one spouse or the other. However, even such a designation could be questionable if both spouses contributed money toward the mortgage, taxes, insurance and maintenance of the home. In most cases, the majority of the equity in the house will be marital property that you can expect a fair share of.
The Nebraska family courts will also consider issues like who has custody of your children and how to keep things stable for them when determining who gets the house or how to dispose of it. In some cases, one spouse may retain the house. Other times, the courts could order you to sell the home and split the equity.
Secondary properties like vacation homes or investment properties are also subject to sale or division, although if one person wants the cabin and the other one will accept different assets in lieu of the cabin, the courts may consider those preferences as well.
Make sure you get a fair price for any real estate holdings
Just because you know what you paid for a property doesn’t mean you know what it is currently worth. The price you paid for your home a decade ago may no longer represent its fair market value. Having properties appraised can give you a better idea of their value and make it easier to secure a fair split in the divorce.