By Leslie O’Neal
Following up last month’s blog post (and the continuing realization that every month’s blog could be dedicated to the family law issues arising from the Kardashian relationships), the divorce proceedings between Khloe and Lamar are moving along quickly. Not even a month after Khloe filed for divorce from Lamar on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, the couple placed their 8,000 square foot home in Tarzana, California up for sale for a paltry $5.499 million.
It seems to be the commonplace in high profile divorces that the real estate assets are immediately sold. In Georgia, it is not necessarily required that the marital residence be sold as part of the divorce proceedings. Who is ultimately awarded the house can be an emotional issue during divorce cases, particularly if there are children involved. Often the party to be awarded primary custody of the children will also want to be awarded the home so that the children are not uprooted from their environment in the middle of what is already a difficult time of transition for them. Even if there aren’t minor children involved, sometimes the home has sentimental value to one party such that he or she wants to keep it at the conclusion of the case rather than sell it.
Generally, in order to be awarded the marital residence at the conclusion of a divorce case, three things have to happen. First, the spouse being awarded the house has to have the ability to pay the monthly mortgage premium with his/her own income (which can include any spousal or child support he or she is awarded). Second, if the other party’s name is on the mortgage, the spouse being awarded the house has to be able to refinance the mortgage within a reasonable period of time in order to remove the other spouse’s name from that debt. Finally, if there is any equity in the home, the spouse being awarded the home must be able to cash out the other spouse for his/her equitable share of that equity, either through the refinance process or by offsetting the equity in the home with another asset. Generally if any of these three criteria cannot be accomplished by the party desiring to keep the marital residence, the house will ultimately be placed on the market for sale, either by agreement of the parties or by Court Order.
Even if the parties agree that the house needs to be sold, the specifics of the sale can be difficult to maneuver, particularly if the divorce case is contentious. Commonly, guidelines are established either by agreement or Court order which determine who the real estate agent will be, what the listing price will be, what offers or counter-offers must be accepted, what offers or counter-offers may be rejected, and how the closing costs will be paid. It is not uncommon for the agreement outlining the parameters for the sale of the house to remain confidential rather than being filed with the Court; because if it becomes public record, the buyer’s agent could see the parameters and make the lowest possible offer that the sellers are required to accept.
Given that Khloe and Lamar’s marriage only lasted 4 years and didn’t result in any children, neither party likely had an emotional attachment to the house and they presumably reached a mutual agreement to sell it without being ordered to do so.