FAQ: Who Keeps the House In A Divorce?

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Clients always worry about dividing the house in a divorce.  During a divorce, the largest asset shared between you and your spouse is your home. In many cases, the home is jointly shared and it is uncertain how the division of property in divorce will shake out.

The question of division of property in divorce is an emotional one, not just because of a failing marriage, but the idea of losing a familiar and safe space as well. There is uncertainty about living alone, and moving somewhere new. All of this combined with the potent emotions of divorce can lead you to spending a lot of time worrying about division of property in divorce.

Why Keep the House?

Divorce is already emotional and confusing for children of many ages, and the concept of their parents divorcing is traumatic without the extra complications of rooting up and moving to a new house, neighborhood, and possibly school district. If this is concern of yours, it is prudent to mention this to your lawyer or have your children speak to a family therapist to see what might be in their best interest during the division of property in divorce.

Losing a loved one to a divorce is traumatic without worrying about losing the place you live as well. Division of property in divorce may be the last thing you want to think about. Emotional attachment may not hold up well in court when making your case, but you shouldn’t ignore the emotions that are there. Either one spouse or the other may have put time, money and love into the decorating or restoration of the property, or the house may have been passed on from family members.

Can You Afford the House?

Before you go to fight your case over division of property in divorce you need to make sure that keeping the property on a single-budget family is feasible. Without an additional income, there may be lifestyle choices that have to change and adjust. Along with costs of the divorce, owning the home still entails mortgage, taxes, and upkeep. Make a long list of household bills and how these will fit into your personal budget before making any emotional decisions about staying.

Be Informed

If there is no agreement between members, a judge will pick sides to legally set up the division of property in divorce. Having the most information in hand will make you the best candidate for keeping the family home. Laws vary state by state regarding division of property in divorce. For example, in California laws dictate that all community or marital property is divided equally in half. For example, a house purchased during the marriage has $100,000 in equity, a judge may allow one spouse stay in the home on the condition that the other partner is paid for his or her share (referred to as a buy-out).

If the home is too great a financial burden for either individual, the court may judge the division of property in divorce to be sold and those assets divided equally so each member of the divorce can make suitable and cost effective housing decisions for themselves.

It is very stressful worrying about who keeps the house in a divorce.  That is why it is best to consult with a lawyer who specializes in divorce or family law. They will know how to keep the house in the family if that is what suits the parties best, or how to fairly manage the division of property in divorce.  For more information or to schedule a consultation, click the button below, or call us at 619-289-7948.  We look forward to helping you.

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