Couples going through divorces often fight over what they view as the most important terms for the end of their marriage. In many relationships, the house that you lived in will be the biggest asset you and your spouse share.
Your marital home could become the center of a serious conflict between you and your ex as you both argue about your desire to live in the home during and after the divorce. While it’s perfectly normal and reasonable to want to receive your fair share of assets acquired during your marriage, looking carefully at your marital home is often necessary to make the best decisions regarding the terms you seek and the strategies you employ during a divorce.
The family home is not a winner-take-all matter
You may have dozens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of accumulated equity in your primary residence. You might think that convincing the courts to award the home to you in a divorce is the best way to get your fair share of the property’s value.
However, the courts won’t just give the house to one spouse and leave the other with nothing. Instead, they will look at a variety of considerations, including earning potential contributions to the marriage, when deciding how to split the house and its value.
The courts may give occupancy to one spouse, but that person will likely need to refinance the house in order to give their ex a reasonable portion of the equity in the property. The mortgage and other costs could far exceed what you can pay on your own after a divorce. Unless you have family ties or emotional attachment to the home, getting your share of equity may be a better option for you than fighting for the home itself.
Why do you feel strongly about the house?
Some people desperately want to stay in their marital home because that is where they raised their children. Other times, it may have been a family property passed down for several generations.
If you have legitimate ties to the property, then pursuing the home as part of your divorce strategy may be the best approach. The same is true if you expect to have primary or shared custody of your children and want to limit how much upheaval they endure during the divorce.
Discussing your wishes, goals and concerns about real estate and other assets with an attorney can help you make better decisions in your pending divorce.