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    I have been married for 33 years. My husband and I are on the verge of divorce. We have a house worth about $280,000. We do not wish to sell it after the divorce, one of us will keep it on mutual understanding. Do we have to see a lawyer? If not, how do I go about this?
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    You should both see a lawyer if for no other reason than to draft the legal
    documentation to transfer one spouse's interest to the other and to ensure the transfer is
    properly registered with the government Land Registry Office. If one spouse is assuming
    the mortgage on the property entirely, the spouse who is transferring his/her interest
    should make sure that the transferor is being is being completely removed from the
    mortgage in case of a future fault. The lawyer will ensure that happens. It is best if the
    spouse staying in the home pays out the old mortgage by replacing it with a new one.
    However, before anything happens, unless that lawyer is knowledgeable about family law
    and can serve as a mediator, you should both obtain independent legal advice to ensure
    that an even split is appropriate. Even then, both of you will require two independent
    legal advice certificates before signing anything. If the home is the only asset, then at the
    very least the law recognizes that the market value incorporates national costs of
    disposition, such as four to six percent in real estate commissions and $500-$750 in
    lawyer's fees when the property is actually sold to a third party. But since the property is
    not actually being sold to a third party, lawyers normally agree to discount the market
    value of such notional costs of disposition, once you and your spouse have agreed upon
    the figure. However, after such a lengthy marriage it is often grossly unfair to divide
    equally the equity (after discounting such costs) by simply walking away. After 33 years
    your husband may have accumulated a net worth that could include the value of an
    interest in a profitable business, a large private government pension, substantial RRSP's,
    significant real estate holdings and cash in accounts or securities that he did not inherit or
    were not gifted to him and that he acquired or that grew substantially during the course of
    the marriage. As a result, you may possibly be entitled to equalization payments to cover
    the difference between the increase of the wealth and yours. Should you see a lawyer?
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