What to do if a divorce settlement is based on a house value that has gone way down?

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What to do if a divorce settlement is based on a house value that has gone way down?

My final divorce decree was 4 months ago. In the decree, it is said, my ex-wife would get $80,850 based on the equity of $147,000. Now, the current market value is lower than $20,000. Could I go to the court to modify the amount of money I need to give her? She fought with me that I would giver her that $80,000 no matter how low I sell the house for (property community). Moreover, on the decree, it didn’t mention that we gonna split the fee for realtor or title transfer at all.

Asked on October 18, 2011 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is no generic or general answer to you question. It depends primarily on what exactly the decree said. For example, if the decree said that you  were to give your ex-wife $80,500 without making that contingent on what the home is valued at or sold for, you'd owe her that money no matter what. If the agreement said that your ex-wife is to receive the equity from the home sale, up to a maximum payout of $80,500, that might well mean you owe her either only the $20,000 (or so) that the home actually sells for. You need an attorney to review the terms of  the decree with you, to see exactly what your obligations under it are (which includes the ability to take any fees out of the equity before transferring it to your ex-wife).


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