You bought your home 10 years ago, right after getting married. Now you and your spouse have started talking about a divorce, and you’re wondering what’s going to happen to that house. It is a very expensive asset that you own, but it may also represent debt and financial liability if you’re still paying the mortgage. Either way, it’s definitely something you need to figure out as your marriage ends.
You do have a few different options. We’ll start with the least common one and work our way up to the one that most people choose.
You both keep it
In rare situations, it is practical for both people to keep the home. This could be a financial decision. Maybe you think that the home is going to be worth more money in a year, so you want to keep it together so you can sell it later. It could also be a family-based decision. Maybe you know that you want to get divorced, but you also know it would be important for the kids to stay in the same home. You can agree to keep it and own it jointly until they go to college.
One of you keeps it
In some cases, one person wants to keep the house and the other does not. This is possible, but it needs to be addressed during the property division process. Since the other person is entitled to half of that home, their share will either need to be bought out with cash or they may need to be given other assets that are equal to the value of the home. The person keeping the home also has to consider whether or not they can afford to continue paying the mortgage and doing upkeep.
You sell it and split the money
Most common of all is a situation in which both people just decide that they’re going to sell the house. Neither one of them wants to own it alone, and maybe they don’t even have children who are connected to that house. It is easiest to sell it to someone else because you can then divide up the money that you make in that sale. Each of you can then use the money that you made for a down payment on a new home that you will own individually.
This is only one part of the property division process, and it helps to show why you need to understand all of your legal options as you get divorced.