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What Happens to a Home During a Divorce?

No matter how it’s intended, going through a divorce is an incredibly difficult time. The severing of an intended lifelong partnership carries consequences emotional, social and financial. There’s no way around how difficult the time is. There are some ways to make things slightly less painful and more amicable. 

The outcome of assets during a divorce can be incredibly complicated. This is especially true for a person’s home. It may seem obvious who should get a home, but there are actually many factors that come into play. The best divorces are handled amicably with divorce lawyers working well to try to find an equitable settlement. 

Options for A Home During Divorces

A home can be divided in multiple ways after a divorce. The divorce requires roughly equitable division of assets. This doesn’t mean 50-50, but that’s often the goal. If the home was acquired by the individual before the marriage on their own fully, then that is considered separate property and simply remains in the same ownership that it started with. 

Property bought during the marriage is marital property and an asset. Earlier separate property can become marital property. For example, even if one partner buys the home outright with separate funds from before the marriage, it’s still marital property. 

There’s three real outcomes for a home in a divorce. The first two are the house ending up with either of the two parties involved. In many cases, the cost of the home as an asset will be deducted from the rest of assets given. The third possibility is that a house may be ordered to be sold. This can be immediately in some cases, or delayed to allow children to complete school in others. The cash value of the assets go into the divorce settlement to be split up. 

Using a Divorce Lawyer

For most people who choose to get divorced, they will need to use a divorce lawyer. Some people believe that amicable divorces can be settled through a single lawyer, but that’s not true. Lawyers are breaking their universal code of conduct by taking on clients with specific conflicting interests. No matter how amicable a divorce it, it’s a form of legal conflict. Each party in the divorce needs their own divorce lawyer to finalize the divorce. 

There are however cases where a single lawyer can be of assistance. This is called mediation. This process chooses a third party to help the troubled parties come to terms on conflicting needs. If mediation isn’t used, it’s possible for a divorce to require a trial. Lawyers function as excellent mediators as long as they remain impartial and don’t represent either of the two parties. 

Fair Divorce Settlements

Getting a divorce settlement can sometimes seem difficult. There’s a few items which alter the terms of settlements. The first is the length of the divorce. Shorter divorces may have less impact on the lives of those involved and less impact on the finances of the couple. This brings up the second aspect. Should one party drastically affect the finances, then they may receive far less of assets. 

When children are involved, that can play a big role in how assets are distributed. If either of the parents are stay at home parents who have given up their career, that will likely tilt assets in their favor. The same can usually be said of any partner who has given up their employment or career for the marriage. Homes will likely be given or offered to the primary caregiver of the couple. Spousal and child support may be required in cases where there’s one primary earner. 

Ideally, each partner will receive close to 50% of assets. Sometimes that’s easy. In cases where there’s expensive assets, they may need to be sold off to equalize the split of assets. The best way to determine a fair split is to speak with a solid divorce lawyer before going to mediation.