In most cases, the family home is the largest asset owned by the couple divorcing. However, it is also the center of family, and losing the home can be quite unsettling for everyone involved. What happens to the family home will largely depend on the couple and the circumstances surrounding the divorce.
One of the initial processes in a divorce is the valuation of all property. Everything needs to be identified as marital property or individual property. In most cases, the home is considered joint property and is subject to division. However, the couple may come to an agreement prior that would enable the home to stay with one party for other concessions.
Who Gets the Family Home?
If the couple has no children, matters are far simpler than if kids are involved. Assuming the house is joint property, one person can buy the other out of the home once its value has been determined. The couple may also come to some type of agreement in regard to other assets to compensate for the value of the home. For instance, one member gets the house while the other gets the car and the boat. Another alternative is to simply sell the home and split the profit evenly.
There are also times, due to financial problems, an individual is allowed to remain living in the home until his or her financial situation becomes better. However, if both parties have equal rights to the home, the other individual should file a petition to prevent the second homeowner from selling the property without their consent or knowledge. Your attorney can assist you with this.
Things get far more complicated once children are involved. If one parent moves out and the other is awarded custody, that parent may be awarded the home, as children take top priority in any divorce settlement. In addition, the “other” spouse may be required to continue to pay a portion of the mortgage and/or maintenance costs in conjunction with child support.
With such a major asset, it is easy to understand how things can become very confusing and complicated very quickly. For this reason, you are best served to contact a family law attorney specializing in divorce and child custody. He or she will be able to advise you of all options as well as assist in any legal hearings or motions about the case. For more information or to set up an appointment with one our attorneys, contact us today.