Houses are among the biggest concerns in a divorce. Pragmatically, they are expensive pieces of real estate, and there is a fear that losing one can damage your finances. Emotionally, they are places full of memories, and people don’t want to lose them.
To protect any property in a divorce, you must be aware of how your state divides assets. This will help you prepare for what to expect, and it will help you strategize. You may find, for instance, that it will be better to sacrifice one piece of property to keep another.
Nevada uses the “community property division” method.
Here is a broad overview of community property division. Learning about this system can prepare you for ways to keep your home in a divorce.
Community Property Division is Equal
In states that use the community property system, the goal is to give each spouse 50% of the overall marital assets. This includes money in savings, physical property, and even debt.
When you keep physical property in a Nevada divorce, you will owe your spouse half the value of that property.
This system creates a problem for people, especially when they keep the home. The value is tied to the property itself. Someone who keeps a $500,000 house may not have the liquid assets to give their spouse the $250,000 difference.
In situations like these, spouses have options. They can:
- Pay the other spouse ½ the value of the property, as mentioned above
- Trade physical property up to ½ the value of the property
- Sell the property and split the profits equally with the other spouse
If you want to keep the home, you need to make a plan. Work with your attorney now, and create an offer. You may be able to construct a fair trade that will keep your spouse compensated.
Entitlement to Property
Even in a community property state like Nevada, you must argue that property should rightfully go to you. This is called claiming entitlement.
With the home, you must show how you contributed to the home. Many stay-at-home parents have an advantage here. It’s easy for them to prove that they used the home most. Often, they are also responsible for keeping the place clean. They may also have overseen maintenance or expansions.
With entitlement, money is not the main concern. The court generally doesn’t care about who made the payments. It simply wants to know who controlled, used, or contributed to the property.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
Marital property is divided in a divorce. Generally, this is any property you acquired during the marriage. The law assumes that all your assets go toward the good of the family. Therefore, if one spouse buys a magazine, the other jointly owns that property.
Separate property originates outside of the marriage, and it belongs to just one person. The court should not consider this property when dividing assets. Separate assets include inheritance, gifts from people outside of the marriage, and property you owned before the marriage.
Separate property can, however, become entangled. For instance, your spouse could help you build a home on your inherited land, or they could work for a business you started before the marriage. On such occasions, separate property becomes “co-mingled.”
To keep your co-mingled property, you must make claims for entitlement just as you would with marital property. It will be most effective to prove that your spouse inhibited or sabotaged the property somehow, but you can use standard entitlement strategies as well.
If you’re concerned about losing your home in a divorce, our firm is here to help. You can schedule time with us online or call us now at (702) 904-9898.