Many divorcing couples wonder what will happen to their home if they divorce. The answer is not as cut-and-dry as you might expect, though. It depends on many factors and each solution is as unique as the family itself. To help you understand what to expect and plan accordingly, here are five of these important factors.
1. When the Home Was Bought
Marital property (or community property) generally includes all assets acquired during the marriage. So if you or your spouse bought this real estate before you got married, it may be considered their own property and the other spouse has no stake in it. However, if it was purchased while you were married, the individual whose name is on the deed or mortgage may not matter.
2. How the Home Was Acquired
If the house was acquired during the marriage, the circumstances surrounding it may still affect its status. If the house was an inheritance from your grandparent, for instance, it may still be individual property even if you were married when you received it. Or if you used an inheritance to buy the home and paid all the expenses, it may likewise be your individual property.
3. What Other Assets Are Available
Because the family home is usually one of the biggest assets a couple owns, its value can be difficult to distribute if one party wants to keep it. However, if there are sufficient other assets involved in the divorce, you may be able to assign the real estate to one person and compensate the other spouse with other assets equal to their share in the home.
4. Where the Kids Live
If a judge must rule on property division in your case, they may take into consideration where the children live. Allowing children to remain living in their home can be seen as beneficial for their mental health. So if one parent will have sole or primary custody, the judge may grant that spouse the family home. Again, though, the other spouse may need compensation.
5. Your Ability to Agree Privately
Finally, keep in mind that all couples have the opportunity to come to their own agreement privately, A judge doesn't have to rule if the two parties can agree to their own terms. So if you or your spouse really wants the marital home, you may be able to negotiate your way into making that happen. A judge then simply needs to sign off on the agreement.
Where to Learn More
Is your marital home affected by one or more of these factors? Then learn more about how your particular circumstances could help you protect your finances, your future, and your home by meeting with a divorce attorney in your state today.