House with No/Negitive Equity


My husband was going to Pay me a lesser alimony and take over the responsibility of the house. Now he is concerned because our house may have negative equity if and when he goes to sell. Now he wants to sell now and make us both responsible for the Negative Equity, which is almost guaranteed in this market. Even with his alimony I don’t have any extra money for paying any more debt that may arise out of this. How would I negotiate this risk that he is concerned about?


You may consider taking less of another asset to even out the distribution and avoid taking on any negative equity.


Unfortunately We do not have any other assets, we actually have about 20K in debt. That debt is scheduled to be paid off by Feb 2013. He is just putting up a fight about the risk involved in case he ends up selling the house at a loss.

He is also arguing with me about alimony. He makes 33% more than I do, 100K to my 35K, I am only asking for 800 to help me supplement my bills especially since he is taking on the debt payments, and only for 3.5 yrs (half of the length of our marriage). He wants to have no obligations to me by the time we divorce (hopefully in a year- as we are in the process of filing our separation). He feels that because the divorce is mutual and he is taking on the risk with the debt and even possibly the house, even though he could ride out the market and make money off the house that I have not interest in, that he should have no obligations to me once the divorce is final.

I am taking on a second job to even help me make ends meet with the alimony he is providing, I still wouldn’t be able to pay my half of the debt based on our current payment plan to have everything paid off in 2013. Do I even have an argument to keep the alimony payment the same past the divorce?


Alimony is based on a number of factors including the length of the marriage, the ability of the supporting spouse to pay and the need of the dependent spouse. In a case like yours my opinion is that you would be entitled to support for at least 3 years.


So we my STBX and I are almost agreement with how to divide everything in regards to the Separation Agreement. We don’t have any assets, 401K or equity in house, and like I mentioned we have 20K of debt that is to be paid off in two years. Like I mentioned before I am only requesting 800 in alimony, it is basically the minimum I need and the max he can give considering he is taking on the house with negative equity and paying off the debt at higher payment to pay it off faster. I really want this alimony for the full 3.5 years that I feel I deserve based on our length of marriage and disparity in income.

Our only hiccup is that he doesn’t want to pay alimony past the actual divorce. He is willing to put in a clause that states that we have to re-negotiate the alimony before the divorce is final approximately a year from the date of the agreement. I do not want to move out without being sure that he is required to pay me and that we have agreed on all/most of the terms, I also do not want to continue to live in this situation, I am ready to start moving forward.

Would I be harming my position for continued Alimony by signing an agreement that we would re-negotiate the dollar amount in a year? My first thoughts are that in a year if we are still disagreeing, I have a little bit of the upper hand because he previously agreed to this amount and has been paying me this amount, and I can prove that I still need it and that he can still afford it. But I am not the expert…


Including a phrase that states he will renegotiate alimony is essentially in effectual. If you negotiate and do not agree you will not be able to file for alimony after an agreement is signed that contains a future waiver, or after the divorce is granted. It is in your best interests to work this out now, he will likely not be feeling any more generous a year from now.