Buying or selling a home can be a joyous event.  However, when the sale is forced because of divorce it can be extraordinarily stressful and overwhelming.  Good decisions are often based on good information.  So, forming a collaborative team of professionals is essential to protecting your legal, financial and emotional well-being.  

An experienced family law attorney should serve as the quarterback. They will layout a comprehensive negotiation strategy.  Is cooperative compromise best?  Or is using the court system best?  If minor children are involved, they will work with you to determine what is in their best interests and help you establish custody rights.  

The division of financial and personal assets can be complex.  An equitable division of bank accounts, retirement accounts, and real estate must be negotiated.  What about personal assets like jewelry, furniture, family photos, and pets?  Who is responsible for paying credit card balances?  What about modern non-physical assets like Facebook accounts and club memberships?  

For many people their home is the biggest asset to consider.  Working with a knowledgeable local Realtor is essential to understanding market conditions, as well as establishing value and marketability if a sale is required.  In addition, they can provide insight on improvements (what do and not do) to maximize your equity.

A good attorney will have clear and sometimes difficult conversations with clients about their finances to determine if it is financially feasible to keep the existing home. There is just no way around it – divorce can stretch finances to a breaking point.  One must also take into account on-going care, needed repairs, and the time, energy, and desire of maintaining a home alone.  

The needs of clients are often different.  Some people really want to keep their home, while others want a fresh start.  Old memories, the needs of children, and financial considerations are often determining factors. Either way, it is important to gather information and consider a range of options before making such an important decision.   

Unraveling the intertwined lives of a family after many years together is like trying to unscramble an egg.  A strong family law attorney will help you think of things you never considered, be your advocate, and put you in the best position to land on your feet.


Co-author; Attorney Shannon Corallo
Shannon has devoted her legal practice to divorce law and mediation. Both her home and law practice are located in Whitefish Bay. She collaborates with professionals such as realtors, mental health professionals and financial advisors to assist her clients.