# The Moneyist: My husband and I are getting a divorce. I made \$ 35,000 within the marriage. He desires me to take this cash out of our home's fairness. I say break up the fairness first

Dear Quentin,

My husband and I are divorcing and living in Minnesota.

I got married with \$ 35,000 from the sale of my house, and he got into the marriage with debt. Our current home is valued at \$ 320,000 with a \$ 225,000 mortgage. He agreed to return my \$ 35,000.

However, he wants to subtract the \$ 35,000 from the current value of the house and then cut the equity in half.

I think it's fairer to split the \$ 95,000 equity first and then pull the \$ 35,000 out of your half of the equity.

I honestly don't know what the fairest way to go as everyone has very different results. We try to be civilized and do this without lawyers. Thanks for checking this out for me.

What do you think would be a fair way to divide our wealth?

Soon single

You can email The Moneyist with financial and ethical issues related to the coronavirus to qfottrell@marketwatch.com and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Love soon,

Divorce is a time to be practical – not polite.

Nice that you want to split your assets without a lawyer. This can be done if your net worth is very simple, but hire an attorney if you can afford one to make sure you don't leave loose ends that could create problems later.

Incomplete or incorrect forms can result in your petition for divorce being rejected. This can cost you time, trouble, and money. The downside of hiring a lawyer: It can cost up to \$ 15,000 or more.

That means I'm on your side. Your proposal leaves you with \$ 82,500 from the sale of your home and gives it \$ 12,500. (\$ 320,000 minus \$ 225,000 = \$ 95,000 divided by two = \$ 47,500 (\$ 12,500 for him and \$ 82,500 for you).

His way: if you subtract the \$ 35,000 you invested in the property from its current value, he gets \$ 30,000 and you get \$ 65,000 (\$ 320,000 minus \$ 35,000 = \$ 285,000 minus \$ 225,000 = \$ 60,000 (\$ 30,000 for him and \$ 65,000 for you).

Your husband's offer is generous. You've technically pooled your assets so that if he acted strictly according to the wording of the law, he could insist that the equity in your house be split 50/50.

He wants to make sure that you get out of the marriage with what you got when you entered it. Perhaps it is his way of making amends for words and deeds that cannot be undone.

Treat that \$ 35,000 as a lien on your home – after all, you invested in the marital home when you bought it. And he came with debt. That \$ 65,000 could be very useful in your new life.

Maybe you need this lawyer.

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