In the first part of this series, we discussed the marital home and what happens in a divorce to that home. Click here for our last article- What Happens to the Family Home in a Divorce. Continuing that series, we will start with the next question which involves whether you can keep the home – whether either party can keep the home.
In the long term, can I keep my home?
Maybe. My first inquiry is whether the home has a particular sentimental value to either party. Was it in the wife’s family for years before you owned it? Did husband always dream of buying this particular home prior to your purchase? Did wife put her heart and soul into renovating the home? Often I find that one party has a “tie” to the home while the other doesn’t care about leaving or wants to start fresh in a different home. Start with this question.
If it turns out that both of you really want to keep the home, the next inquiry is whether either of you can afford to keep the home. If you consult with a mortgage specialist to see if you can qualify for a loan that will allow you to pay off the current mortgage and pay off your spouse’s share of equity in the home. Often this leaves only one party that is actually able to keep the home.
If both of you want the home, and you each qualify for a loan that allows you to keep the home, the next step is compromise with consideration to all the factors of your case – sentiment, children, family, expenses, etc. It’s best for you to try and agree on who will keep the home but if you can’t, the Court will either choose one of you or order the home sold (see next question).
Will the court force the sale of my home to a third party?
Generally, in marriages involving children, the Court will look to keep one of the parties in the marital home to provide stability during the divorce. The custodial parent should remain in the home so there is less change for the children. In situations of joint parenting or with no children, the Court will make a determination whether it makes sense for one party to stay more than for the other to stay. If the Court cannot make this decision, the home absolutely can be ordered sold to a third party by the Court. The equity would then be divided between the parties for each to then find his/her own new home.
Contact us for more information and for your specific case. We can provide direction and give you the best advice for your specific circumstances.