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Divorce can be a challenging and emotionally turbulent time in anyone’s life. In addition to the emotional strain, there are often complex financial and legal matters. Real estate is one of the most significant assets that couples must address during divorce proceedings. Whether it’s the family home, vacation property, or investment holdings, the fate of real estate can become a contentious issue. In this blog post, we’ll explore the various scenarios and considerations surrounding real estate in a divorce.

Determining Ownership Rights

Determining ownership rights regarding a house acquired before marriage involves examining various factors. While the house may initially be viewed as separate property belonging solely to the spouse who purchased it, several scenarios could complicate this notion. For instance, if marital funds were used to pay the mortgage, cover maintenance costs, or make improvements to the property, the non-owner spouse might have a claim to a portion of its value.

Additionally, if the house is appreciated during the marriage due to market forces or joint efforts, this increase in equity could be considered marital property subject to division. Furthermore, the length of the marriage and each spouse’s financial and non-financial contributions to the household and property upkeep may influence ownership rights.

In community property states, there is a presumption that assets acquired during the marriage, including property appreciation, are joint marital property, regardless of the title’s name. To navigate these complexities and determine ownership rights accurately, divorcing couples should seek legal counsel from experienced family law attorneys who can provide tailored guidance based on the specifics of their case and applicable state laws.

How Real Estate Is Treated In Case of a Divorce

Real Estate in Divorce

The rate of divorce cases has increased rapidly over the last few years. In the USA, for instance, the rate of divorce cases for people aged 50 and above has doubled since 1990.

Divorce at 30 may not be as complicated compared to divorce cases in older parties, and this is because people create and grow wealth in asset form over an extended period. When younger parties divorce, they determine the division of alimony (NRS 125.150), child support responsibilities, and bank accounts. We can expect more complex issues to crop up for older parties involved in a divorce.

It is a rather complex matter when the parties with investments in real estate are involved in a divorce case and have to share ownership interests in a residential home or commercial real estate. The involved parties must understand how divorce affects their collective and individual ownership of these assets.

This article details what happens to a piece of real estate during a divorce.


Community Property

In Nevada, divorcing spouses share any asset acquired during the subsistence of the marital relationship because it is a community property state.

Though there are specific exceptions, community property in Nevada comprises all property bought or obtained during marriage life, irrespective of whose name is on the title to the property. For now, we would refrain from expounding on the exempted properties to keep this discussion simple.

If the divorcing parties acquired the property (housing or land) during the lifetime of the marriage, then they will share ownership interests in the subject property.

It is not possible to split the nature of real estate into halves, like bank accounts or stocks. Therefore, the parties in the divorce have to deal with the jointly-owned property in either of these three ways:

One Party Buys Out Ownership Interests of the Other Party

This option might be the easiest for the divorcing parties; one party buys off what the other party owns in the piece of real property. For instance, if the family home or another commercial real estate establishment is worth $900,000, one spouse might buy off half of the stake by paying the other spouse $450,000 (or trade in an asset worth $450,000).

Remember, we are talking about the net value of the property, meaning the outstanding value of mortgage debt, unpaid property taxes, or HOA fees must first be deducted from the property’s fair market value as determined by a registered property appraiser.

Usually, your Las Vegas divorce attorney will take responsibility for sourcing an accredited appraiser who will value the property as it is. Additionally, it will smoothen the case if both parties in the divorce can agree on a single appraiser or if both parties hire their appraiser and agree on the value.


Sell the Property and Share the Sale Proceeds

Instances when both parties opt to sell off the property and share the proceeds from the sale, can occur when involved parties cannot agree on the buyout value, when neither spouse has enough capital to buy out the other, or when neither of the parties wants to hold on to the property after the divorce is formalized.


Partitioning the Property

Partitioning the property may not always be possible because of the limitations of local zoning rules and the nature of the real estate. Partitioning is only possible where the law permits and where it is realistic to divide the property physically.

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For instance, it is only practical to split ownership of a residential establishment by significantly altering the house’s structural and architectural design.

On the other hand, each party can retain four housing units in the commercial establishment if the divorcing parties share an apartment complex of 8 units. Undeveloped land or farmland can also be subdivided into two pieces, and spouses can obtain titles to the two land pieces.


What is a Separate Property?

Well, not all property obtained during the marriage is considered community property. If one of the parties in a divorce bought a property before getting married to the other spouse, that property is not marital.

To know more, you may read NRS 123.130.

Also, a property whose ownership is limited by a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, property obtained through inheritance, or property gifted solely to one of the spouses as a gift is considered separate property. It is regardless of whether the property was gifted or inherited during the marriage life.

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The value of the separate property has increased over time without input or capital injection from the other party. In that case, the increase in value remains separate property, and marriage does not affect ownership.

Regarding the Inventory of separate property, you may refer NRS 123.140.

However, if the non-owning spouse has contributed to the spouse’s sole property by financing improvements, renovations, payment of taxes, or mortgage service, then some or all of the property’s value may be treated as community property.

Suppose the contribution to the spouse’s sole property by the other spouse is significant. In that case, the entire property may be considered and treated as community property, and other options to share the property in case of divorce, like the ones discussed above, can be explored.

It is a complicated task to determine ownership contributions by a spouse and specific attributes of a property. That is where you need to consult your divorce attorney, who will help you know what amount of the property value is community property value and what is separate property value based on a case-by-case examination.

Evaluating the Value of the Real Estate

Determining the value of real estate is essential in many situations, like selling property, getting a loan, or planning your estate. Appraisers, who are experts in property values, determine how much a property is worth by looking at where it’s located, how big it is, what shape it’s in, and what other similar properties have sold for. They use different methods to create a fair value, like comparing recent sales or determining how much property income could be made.

Figuring out the value of real estate in divorce proceedings can be tricky, especially when emotions are involved. Appraisal reports, based on facts and not feelings, help ensure the property gets divided fairly.

Understanding the value of real estate is vital for making intelligent decisions about buying, selling, or managing property, especially when important legal and financial matters are involved.

Importance of Legal Guidance and Support in a Divorce

Navigating a divorce can be emotionally and financially challenging for anyone involved. From determining the division of assets like retirement accounts, vehicles, and the marital home, to addressing issues such as child care services and education, the process can feel overwhelming.

Seeking advice from a knowledgeable attorney in Milwaukee or your area is essential to understanding your rights and the legal pathways available. An attorney-client relationship offers a supportive team to guide you through the complexities of divorce proceedings, providing insight into state-specific laws and helping you make informed decisions regarding everything from property placement to the cost of trial.

Attorneys, with their skill and discretion, can help you negotiate settlements or, if required, represent you in court. Finally, having a qualified legal team on your side can help to alleviate the stress of divorce by ensuring that your interests are safeguarded and your road forward is managed with knowledge and experience.

What Happens To Real Estate In A Divorce


Divorce is never easy, and sorting out the division of real estate assets can add complexity to an already challenging divorce process. Whether deciding the fate of the family home or navigating the division of investment properties, couples must approach these matters carefully and clearly understand their rights and obligations. By seeking guidance from legal and financial professionals and focusing on practical solutions, divorcing couples can navigate the complexities of the real estate division with greater clarity and confidence.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Real Estate in a Divorce:

Q. How is property divided in a divorce?

In a divorce, property division typically involves assessing all assets and debts acquired during the marriage and determining how to fairly distribute them between the spouses. This process includes real estate, investments, savings, cars, and other belongings. Depending on the jurisdiction, the division may follow community property laws, where assets acquired during the marriage are split equally, or equitable property distribution, which aims for a fair but not necessarily equal division based on various factors like each spouse’s contributions, needs, and financial circumstances. Couples may negotiate and work a settlement themselves, or the court may intervene to resolve disagreements. Ultimately, the goal is to reach an outcome that considers the well-being and financial stability of both parties post-divorce.

Q. Can one spouse keep the house after a divorce?

Yes, one spouse can keep the house after a divorce, but it typically depends on various factors such as the couple’s agreement, financial circumstances, and the laws in their jurisdiction. In many cases, if one spouse wants to keep the house, they may need to buy out the other spouse’s share of the property or negotiate other assets in exchange. Alternatively, the couple may agree to sell the house and divide the proceeds. The final decision often involves considerations of affordability, emotional attachment, and practicality for both parties.

Q. What are the options for selling real estate during a divorce?

In a divorce, selling real estate offers various options. Couples may agree to sell the property and split the proceeds per their settlement. Alternatively, one spouse can buy out the other’s share to retain ownership. If no agreement is reached, courts in states like Wisconsin may order the property’s sale, dividing proceeds accordingly. Each choice bears considerations, so seeking guidance from legal and financial experts is crucial during proceedings.

Q. Are there tax implications when dividing real estate in a divorce?

Yes, there can be tax implications when dividing real estate in a divorce. The specific tax consequences depend on various factors, including the type of property involved, how it is divided, and the applicable tax laws. For example, transferring property ownership between spouses as part of a divorce settlement may trigger capital gains tax or gift tax implications. Additionally, if one spouse buys out the other’s share of the property, there may be tax considerations related to the transfer of ownership and any associated financial transactions. Divorcing couples must consult with tax professionals or financial advisors to understand the potential tax implications of dividing real estate assets and ensure compliance with relevant tax laws.

Q. Do both spouses have equal rights to the property during a divorce?

During a divorce, both spouses typically have rights to the property, but whether they’re equal depends on various factors, like the laws where they live and their specific situation. In some places, such as community property states like California, property acquired during the marriage is often considered equally owned by both spouses. However, in other areas, the division may not be equal, but it aims to be fair based on factors like each person’s contributions to the marriage and their needs after the divorce. Couples must understand their property division rights during divorce proceedings, which often involves consulting with lawyers or legal professionals.

Q. How is the value of real estate determined during a divorce?

Determining the value of real estate in a divorce often involves several essential steps. One common approach is to hire a professional appraiser who evaluates the property based on location, size, condition, and recent sales in the area. These appraisers provide an impartial assessment, helping both parties and their lawyers understand the property’s value. It’s typical for each party to get separate appraisals or agree on one expert to ensure fairness. The resulting report becomes crucial evidence during settlement discussions in court, guiding conversations about property division or buyout arrangements. The ultimate goal is to arrive at a valuation that accurately reflects the property’s current value, ensuring a fair distribution of assets during the divorce proceedings.

Q. How can I protect my real estate assets during a divorce?

To protect your assets during a divorce, specifically real estate, several steps can be taken:

  • It’s crucial to understand the laws governing property division in your jurisdiction, especially if you reside in a community property state where assets acquired during the marriage are typically considered joint property. Consulting with a knowledgeable family law attorney can provide valuable guidance tailored to your specific situation.
  • Maintaining thorough documentation of all financial transactions related to real estate, including purchase agreements, mortgage documents, and property appraisals, can help establish ownership and value. Consideration should also be given to prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, which can outline how real estate assets will be handled during a divorce.
  • Open communication and cooperation with your spouse throughout the divorce proceedings can facilitate a smoother resolution regarding the division of real estate assets, potentially avoiding lengthy and costly legal battles.
Q. How are mortgage payments handled during a divorce?

During a divorce, dealing with mortgage payments can differ depending on each situation and agreements between the ex-spouses. Usually, there are a few choices. One way is for both to keep making payments together until the divorce is done. Another idea is for one person to buy out the other’s part of the property and take over the mortgage payments. Or they might agree to sell the place and use the money to pay off the mortgage. In the end, how mortgage payments are managed depends on what’s decided during the divorce proceedings.

Q. How does selling housework during a divorce?

Selling a house during a divorce involves several steps:

  • Both spouses need to agree on the decision to sell and the terms of the sale.
  • The house is typically listed with a realtor, who helps find a buyer. Once a buyer is found, negotiations occur, and a purchase contract is signed if an agreement is reached. During this process, any outstanding mortgage on the property must be addressed, and the proceeds from the sale are used to pay off the mortgage and any other debts.
  • The remaining funds are divided between the spouses according to the divorce settlement or court order.
Q. How does refinancing homework during a divorce?

Refinancing a home during a divorce involves one spouse taking over the existing mortgage or obtaining a new mortgage in their name alone. This typically requires the refinancing spouse to qualify for the loan based on their income, credit, and other financial factors. Once approved, the refinancing spouse will use the new loan to pay off the existing mortgage, effectively removing the other spouse’s name and title from the loan. Refinancing can help simplify property ownership and financial obligations following a divorce, but it’s important to consider potential costs, such as closing fees and interest rates, before proceeding.

Q. How can I buy out my spouse's share of the house during a divorce?

You’ll need to do a few things to buy out your spouse’s share of the house during a divorce. First, agree on a fair price for their part of the house by getting an appraisal to know its value. Then, you’ll need to get the money to buy them out, which could mean using savings, getting a loan, or refinancing the mortgage in your name alone. After that, you’ll legally transfer the house into your name, which might require a lawyer and mortgage lender’s help.

Q. How does joint ownership of property work after a divorce?

After a divorce, owning property together can happen in different ways, depending on what’s decided. Sometimes, the ex-spouses keep sharing the property, like paying the mortgage or taking care of repairs. They might sell it and share the money or use it to pay debts. Other times, one ex-spouse might buy out the other’s part, becoming the sole owner. How joint ownership works after divorce depends on what’s agreed upon during the divorce.

Q. Who Gets to Stay in the House During the Divorce?

During a divorce, who gets the house can depend on various factors, such as the laws in your area and the specific circumstances of your situation. Sometimes, both spouses might agree that one person will stay in the house temporarily while they sort things out. Other times, a judge might decide based on what’s fair and reasonable, considering things like who paid for the house, who has custody of the children, and each spouse’s financial situation. It’s essential to talk to a lawyer to understand your rights and figure out the best way forward for everyone involved.

Q. What options are available if neither spouse can afford to keep the property after a divorce?

If neither spouse can afford to keep the property after a divorce, there are a few options available. One option is to sell the property and divide the proceeds between the spouses. Another option is for both spouses to agree to sell the property at a later date when market conditions improve. Additionally, the spouses may choose to negotiate a buyout arrangement, where one spouse buys out the other’s share of the property. Ultimately, the best option will depend on the specific circumstances of the divorce and the financial situation of each spouse.

Q. What happens if one spouse contributed more financially to the property than the other?

In divorce scenarios, the division of property can be influenced by various factors, particularly if one spouse contributed more financially to a property than the other. While laws governing property division vary by jurisdiction, contributions, whether financial or non-financial, are typically considered in determining how assets are divided. If one spouse made greater financial contributions, they may be entitled to a larger share of the property’s value. However, factors such as the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s overall contributions, and any applicable rules regarding marital property division also come into play. Seeking advice from a skilled attorney well-versed in family law, especially in Milwaukee, is crucial to understanding how these factors apply to your unique circumstances and ensuring that your interests are protected throughout the divorce process.

Q. Can a divorcee be called unmarried?

Yes, legally speaking, a divorcee can be referred to as unmarried because divorce effectively dissolves the marriage bond, returning both parties to the status of being single individuals. Once a divorce is finalized, each former spouse is considered legally unmarried and is free to remarry if they choose to do so. While the term “divorcee” specifically denotes someone who has gone through a divorce, it essentially signifies that the individual is no longer married and is thus unmarried.

Q. Can a prenuptial agreement affect the division of real estate in a divorce?

Yes, a prenuptial agreement can indeed impact the division of real estate in a divorce. Prenuptial agreements, which are legal documents created before marriage, lay out how assets will be split if a divorce occurs. If real estate is addressed in the prenup, it can clarify whether certain properties are separate or marital assets and how they’ll be shared. However, the enforceability of these agreements regarding real estate division varies by state laws and the agreement’s specific terms. Seeking advice from a skilled attorney, especially one familiar with divorce cases in Milwaukee or your area, is crucial to understand how your prenup might affect the division of real estate in your unique scenario.

Q. Who keeps the family home if there are children involved in a divorce?

In divorces involving children, determining who keeps the family home can depend on various factors, including the best interests of the children, the financial situation of each spouse, and state laws. In some cases, the parent who has primary custody of the children may be awarded the family home to provide stability and continuity for the children. However, other scenarios may arise, such as selling the home and dividing the proceeds or establishing a co-ownership arrangement to ensure both parents have a place to live while sharing custody of the children. Ultimately, the decision may be reached through negotiation between the divorcing spouses, mediation, or, if necessary, by a judge during divorce proceedings.

Q. Who is entitled to any profits from selling the property after a divorce?

Determining who is entitled to profits from selling property after a divorce depends on various factors, including state laws, the specific terms of any legal agreements or court orders, and the circumstances surrounding the property’s ownership. In many cases, profits from the sale of marital property are divided equitably between the divorcing spouses, taking into account factors such as each spouse’s financial contributions, their respective needs, and the length of the marriage. However, if the property was owned solely by one spouse before the marriage or was acquired through inheritance or gift, that spouse may be entitled to a larger portion or all of the profits. It’s essential to seek advice from a qualified attorney familiar with divorce proceedings in your jurisdiction to understand how property division rules apply to your situation.

Q. Who can I consult for legal advice regarding real estate in a divorce?

For legal advice regarding real estate in a divorce, you can consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney. These professionals specialize in navigating the complexities of divorce proceedings, including property division issues. Additionally, seeking guidance from a real estate attorney who has experience in handling divorces can provide valuable insight into the specific legal considerations related to real estate assets. It’s important to choose an attorney who is familiar with the laws and regulations governing real estate in your jurisdiction to ensure that you receive accurate and tailored advice for your situation.

Q. Who is responsible for mortgage payments after a divorce?

After a divorce, responsibility for mortgage payments depends on the agreements made during the divorce proceedings. Typically, if one spouse retains ownership of the marital home, they become responsible for making mortgage payments. However, if both spouses are listed on the mortgage, the lender’s policy may hold both parties responsible regardless of the divorce decree. It’s crucial to address mortgage responsibilities clearly in the divorce settlement to avoid potential issues and ensure compliance with legal obligations.

Q. What happens if one spouse wants to sell the property and the other does not?

If one spouse wants to sell the property and the other does not, it can create a significant conflict during divorce proceedings. Typically, both spouses must agree on the sale of marital property, including the marital home. If they cannot reach an agreement, the matter may need to be resolved through negotiation, mediation, or ultimately decided by a judge. Factors such as the reasons for wanting to sell or keep the property, financial considerations, and the best interests of any children involved may all be taken into account when determining the outcome. Seeking guidance from a skilled attorney can help spouses navigate this complex issue and work towards a resolution that is fair and equitable for both parties.

Q. What factors are considered when determining how to divide real estate in a divorce?

When deciding how to divide real estate in a divorce, several factors come into play. These may include whether the property was acquired before or during the marriage, each spouse’s financial contributions to the property, any agreements or arrangements made beforehand such as prenuptial agreements, the current market value of the property, and the needs of any children involved. Additionally, the jurisdiction’s laws regarding property division and whether it’s a community property state or an equitable distribution state will also influence the process. Consulting with legal professionals who specialize in family law can help ensure that all relevant factors are considered and that the division of real estate is fair and equitable for both parties.

Q. What are the options for dividing real estate in a divorce?

In a divorce, there are several options for dividing real estate. One possibility is selling the property and splitting the proceeds between the divorcing spouses. Another option is for one spouse to buy out the other’s share of the property, either through a cash payment or by trading assets of equivalent value. Alternatively, couples may choose to continue co-owning the property, either as joint tenants or as tenants in common, with each retaining a percentage ownership interest. The choice of division method depends on various factors, including the financial circumstances of the parties involved, their emotional attachment to the property, and any agreements reached during divorce negotiations. Consulting with legal and financial professionals can help couples explore their options and determine the best course of action for dividing real estate assets in their particular situation.

Contact Our Expert Divorce Attorneys in Las Vegas

We have one of the most seasoned divorce lawyers in Las Vegas . We are eager and ready to guide you in all aspects of a divorce case.

We have extensive experience dealing with complex and high-value divorce cases with a concrete success rate on the most complicated and sensitive marital cases.

We want to help our clients understand specific areas in a divorce case that they can exploit, such as property valuation, equity distribution, child custody, alimony, and temporary spousal support.

We at divorce attorneys at Donn W. Prokopius, Chtd. provide phone consultancy services at no charge.

Call us today at (702) 474-0500 to schedule a consultation and speak to one of our professionals about your divorce case.

For more information on how can help you with What Happens To Real Estate In A Divorce, please contact us at (702) 474-0500, or visit us here:

Donn W. Prokopius, Chtd.

6655 West Sahara avenue
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Las Vegas, NV 89146

(702) 474-0500

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