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Distribution of the marital home often poses special problems in the process of marriage dissolution. For many couples, their home is their largest asset, so selling it at the time of the dissolution may be the only way for both parties to receive a fair share of the marital estate right away. Yet one spouse may have a special need to continue living in the house, particularly if there are any children still living at home.
After identifying the distribution that will best serve the client's interest, a lawyer must advocate persuasively for that distribution in negotiations with opposing counsel and, if necessary, at trial. The trial court's distribution is usually reversible only for an abuse of discretion, so appeals challenging distribution of the marital home rarely succeed. In addition, in cases involving exclusive-use awards or deferred payments, counsel must take care when drafting the agreement or decree to anticipate and avert disputes that might arise later on. <
Part I of this Manual discusses factors that bear on the decision about how the marital home should figure in the final award. Part II reviews considerations in structuring the distribution of the marital home.
National Legal Research Group, Inc.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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