New clients often inform me that they and their spouses have agreed to an uncontested divorce, that it is all very amicable, and that they have already agreed to divide the assets equally. I certainly hope the process goes as smoothly as the client expects, but my experience has been that while the couple have agreed to divide everything 50/50, they have vastly different ideas of what that actually means.
One party may think that only assets held jointly are subject to division. He or she may be quite surprised that retirement accounts (pensions, IRAs, 401k plans) and other assets titled in his or her name alone are also subject to division. And little thought may have been given as to which party will assume responsibility for the marital debts.
If the house is to be sold and the proceeds equally divided, the math is easy. However, if they agree to one person staying in the house and paying the other person half of the value (minus the mortgage debt, of course), they often do not agree on what is the market value of the house.
If the spouse remaining in the house does not refinance, the other spouse remains on the mortgage. The person moving out might not be able to qualify to buy another house, since his or her credit would show liability for the mortgage on the previous marital home.
To refinance is the best solution for the spouse who keeps the house, but many times the spouse wanting to keep the house cannot qualify on his or her income alone.
Dividing assets equally and parting amicably is ideal and sounds so simple, but in divorce as in life, the devil is always in the details.
Richard Ralls of Ralls Law Firm can assist you in determining whether you can enforce grandparent rights. Call us at 913 236 7260 or 816 421 4222. Licensed in Kansas and Missouri.