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Who Gets the Family Home in a Divorce?

For many couples, their home is their biggest asset. Thus, it makes sense for people to be worried about how they’re going to deal with ownership of their house when they get divorced.

Generally, there are three ways to divide real estate in a divorce. You can sell the house and split the proceeds, one spouse can buy the other person out, or you can try to keep it and both retain ownership. Here is a brief look at all three options:

  • Selling the house and splitting the sale proceeds — One of the silver linings in dividing property in a divorce is that most real estate gains value over time. For the majority of couples, selling a house means making a profit or at the very least breaking even. Before you put the house on the market, it’s important to get a professional appraisal. This helps avoid arguments over that the property is worth. Once the house sells, the proceeds are split fairly as part of the equitable distribution of marital assets.
  • One spouse keeps the house — Another option is for one spouse to remain in the home and to buy out the other spouse’s interest in the property. This can be a good option for couples who have young children and who want to continue raising their kids in the family home. The spouse who is moving out can also quitclaim their interest in the property to the spouse who is remaining in the home. If possible, the parties should try to refinance the mortgage so that the person remaining in the home is the only one responsible for paying the mortgage.
  • Both spouses keep the house — In some cases, the parties decide to keep the house in both of their names. This arrangement can come about for a few different reasons. For example, the parties might owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth. There may be other financial circumstances that make it inadvisable to sell. In one scenario, the spouses choose to exercise a “bird’s nest” custody arrangement in which the children remain in the family home and mom and dad take turns staying in the house with the kids. Obviously, this arrangement isn’t for everyone. This option is not recommended in the majority of cases.

Property division in a divorce can be complicated. At Dawson Family Law, PLLC, we have more than 40 years of experience representing clients in divorce matters. Schedule your free consultation by calling 833-671-4445. You can also contact us online.

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