Who Cares About the Kids During Divorce?
At the time this is being written, I have just been ordered by a judge to represent a couple in the sale of their divorce home, as their realtor. I am angry. Actually I’m very angry, but I certainly cannot express myself in this way because I must remain impartial and act in the best interests of both parties.
Here is what has me this way: Money is being spent at an alarming rate. Needlessly. The divorce has been going on for at least two years. The divorce has been final for nine months. One party (I’m not going to say whether it’s the husband or wife because I’ve seen it from both sides) has been using every delay tactic you of which you can imagine. Wants to refinance the home and buy out the other’s interest is the current reason. Long delays in answering any and all questions/queries. The list goes on. Does not want to sign my representation paperwork until his attorney has reviewed.
My first order of business whenever I am going to be representing divorce clients is to order a title search (at my expense). This can uncover some interesting items unknown by the one of the involved people. In this case, I discovered a line of credit for close to $200,000. Unbeknownst by the husband/wife not living in the home.
You may be sure that a great amount of this has gone toward attorney fees. More probably went to make up the difference when two homes in another state were sold ‘under water’, meaning the homes had to be sold for less than was owed. The person’s name not living in the house did not have their names on the title.
Are you with me so far? I hope so because I’m leaving out a LOT of other details!
Let’s start doing a bit of math. The line of credit (by one person) is $200,000+/-. Let’s be generous and say half was spent on selling the two out-of-state homes at losses. That leaves $100,000. Every single time the attorney takes a phone call, an email, goes back to court, and works on the case, it is part or all of $300-$500 per hour.
We are forgetting something here, what is it? Oh! Every single time their attorney is active, the Ex’s attorney has to get involved. Assuming the same rates, expenses, we’ve crossed the $200,000 mark. And the house still isn’t sold and the equity split.
Equity. I calculated, as a matter of course, an estimated cost of selling the home. IF the home sells for $800,000, there will be a little over $140,000 to split between the two. No, that can’t be right. Don’t forget the $189,000 line of credit which MUST be satisfied when the home is finally sold; or one party buys out the other. The $140,000, I should note, is AFTER the line of credit is deducted.
Wait, it get’s better. If everything were settled today, the amount of money to split between the pair should be $329,000. But, because one of them has spent $189,000 without the other’s permission or knowing, by my calculations (which may be a bit off, but that doesn’t matter, which you will understand at the end of this story), the person still living in the home will OWE $119,000+/- to the ex.