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Divorce and Home Values: Till Equity Do Us Part

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By Mary Shanklin

“I have seen many of the deals we’re doing have involved a divorce — selling a house because of it or buying because of it,” says Tenaglia. “When people don’t have equity and don’t have money, it dissuades them from going through the final step.”

Getting even a little equity out of a house sale helps cover what can be some pretty hefty costs to get restarted with a new down payment or apartment deposits, Tenaglia says. Even though it’s an unhappy time for couples, the formation of new households helps spur the local economy as newly single consumers purchase furniture, utilities and other services, he added.

Home-sale profits may not be the only real-estate transaction affecting a couple’s relationships.

Orlando resident Debbie March says that she was able to transition out of a marriage that no longer made sense when Bank of America agreed to modify her monthly mortgage payment from a high of $2,200 a month to about $1,400, which was an amount she could begin to afford on her own.

“I got it modified on my own, without him,” says March, who is in the process of ending her marriage. “It’s time now.”

Orlando lawyer Justin Clark said the main issue is that couples sometimes stay together simply because they don’t have enough money to leave each other.

“In the past, you could count on money from a sale to help you start over,” he says.

©2013 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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