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When one spouse keeps the home in a divorce

In many divorces, what will happen with the family home is a central issue. There are many ways this issue could be resolved. One is the divorcing spouses reaching an arrangement in which one of the spouses keeps the home.

It is important to know though that one spouse keeping the house in a divorce raises special issues it is important to properly address. This includes issues regarding:

  • What the other spouse gets in exchange for the home: When one spouse keeps the home in a divorce, it is common for him or her to give something to the other spouse in exchange for getting full interest in the home. This could include “buying out” the other spouse by giving him or her a certain amount of money based on the home’s value. Or it could involve the other spouse agreeing to give up ownership interests in the home in exchange for some other marital asset (or set of assets). What arrangement is ultimately reached on this front is very impactful.
  • The mortgage: Given the costs associated with a mortgage and the major consequences missing mortgage payments can have, it can be critical to reach a clear arrangement on how the mortgage will be handled moving forward.
  • Other costs: There are a range of costs related to the upkeep of a home. So, when a spouse is seeking to keep the family home in a divorce, it can be important for him or her to be aware of these costs, make sure he or she can actually meet them and keep these costs in mind when navigating the other financial issues of the divorce.
  • Ownership documents: It can be important to make sure that the ownership documents connected to the home, including the deed, are changed to accurately reflect the new ownership arrangement reached in the divorce.

When a person desires to keep the family home in a divorce, it can be critical for him or her to consider these issues and develop a plan for handling them in a way that fits with his or her interests. It can also be important for a person to look into the other options for handling a family home in a divorce to check to make sure these alternate options (such as having the home sold off and the proceeds divided) wouldn’t be a better fit for his or her goals.