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We’re Divorcing: Who Gets the House?

Dividing property can be a touchy subject during a divorce or separation. And often, the most tumultuous decision regarding property division involves the family marital home. It’s sometimes the most valuable asset to be distributed among the parties, and may have a strong emotional connotation. The following includes some things to consider in making the decision.

Why Do You Want It?

If you’re going through a divorce or separation, you may feel very strongly about keeping the family home. But it’s important to be sure that your reasons for wanting to keep it are the right ones, and not simply based in the emotional nature of the divorce. A strong rationale for one partner keeping the marital home over the other might be that small children of the divorcing couple are suffering from stress and keeping them in their home could help mitigate their emotional distress. Or perhaps one member of the separating couple is better equipped to handle the financial implications of taking over the house alone.

Financial Implications

Speaking of finances, it’s worth considering that a single person taking over the monetary obligations of a house, mortgage, property taxes, and maintenance is going to be a substantial challenge when those things were originally set up to be paid for by two people. Oftentimes, divorcing individuals don’t realize that they may individually have difficulty keeping up the same standard of living as the one they had while together. If one party is going to keep the house, they should be sure they’re going to be able to handle the financial implications of doing so.

Can You Work It Out, or Do You Need Help?

Ideally, divorcing or separating spouses could come to an agreement on how to divide property, especially something as emotionally linked as the marital home. If the soon-to-be ex-spouses can agree, the provision of who gets the marital home will simply be input in the divorce agreement and likely agreed to by the judge ordering it. However, if you and your spouse can’t come to a mutual consensus, the judge will be the one to decide. They may order the parties sell the home and divide the proceeds, or for one spouse to “buy out” (that is, pay 50% of the worth of the home to the other spouse who does not get the marital home). They may take into consideration where the children from the marriage will be staying and whether it makes sense to keep the children in the home (and therefore decide that the parent who takes custody of the children should keep the home as well). Regardless of what the judge decides though, it’ll be a stranger making the choice and will involve court fees, so it’s best if the dividing couple can come to an agreement on their own.

More Advice

Making arrangements to divide property can be one of the most difficult components of going through a divorce or separation. In representing your interests, the best thing you can do is seek legal advice and explore every option for coming to an agreement with you ex-spouse. Reach out to an experienced Boca Raton family attorney at Schwartz | White to discuss the specifics of your case.

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