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The Family Home


After filing for divorce, the division of property, assets and debt begins.Whether a couple chooses to negotiate property distribution or have a divorce court decide, many are left wondering who will end up with the house. Depending on economy at the time, this can be a blessing or a curse, making it possible for couples to fight over either keeping or getting rid of the family home.

Who Gets the Family Home?

The circumstances of the divorce determine what happens to the family home. If it is possible for the husband and wife to agree on debt and asset division, such as who ends up with the family home, then the divorce court typically accepts the arrangement. When a couple can't agree, the divorce court decides.

If the couple has minor children still living in the family home, then the divorce court will typically award the house to whoever has primary child custody of the children. Divorce is considered traumatic for children, so the divorce court will generally rule in favor of changing the children's lifestyles as little as possible.

The divorce court may also consider any emotional attachment to the family home. If one spouse's family has lived in the house for years before the marriage, the court tends to favor awarding the house to that individual.

Also, the divorce courts sometimes consider stay at home parents to have more attachment to the house since they spend more time there. Sometimes this can cause conflict if the spouse with the most emotional attachment to the house is not the same spouse who has primary custody of the children.

If the couple or spouse is unable to afford to keep the house, it may be sold and the proceeds divided between the parties. Before dividing the profit from the family home, any mortgages will be paid off and the cost of selling the home is covered from the proceeds.

Depending on divorce laws in your state, it may be possible to offer an arrangement in the divorce settlement where one spouse has the rights to buy out the other for a certain amount of time. If the first spouse can't or doesn't want to buy the other half of the house, the second spouse is given the same right for the same period of time. The house will be sold and proceeds divided if neither spouse decides to buy out the other half.

Maintaining the Family Home

Typically, the divorce court will order the spouse occupying the family home to cover the costs of maintaining the family home. If only one spouse is living in the house, he or she will cover the mortgage, property taxes, utilities and repairs.

The divorce court may have both spouses share the costs of repairs if the spouse not living in the family home will get a share of the proceeds when the family home is sold later on. What repairs the spouses will need to share the cost for will be defined by the divorce court, depending on cost.

Speak to a Divorce Attorney about the Family Home

A local divorce lawyer will be able to give you advice on how to handle the family home during divorce. Work with a divorce attorney near you to figure out how the divorce court will rule on the family home or negotiate the family home in a divorce settlement with your spouse. Call 877-349-1310 or fill out a divorce case review form to start learning how to protect the family home today.

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