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What happens to the family home in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2021 | Divorce

Homeowners in Pennsylvania getting a divorce have options–it doesn’t always have to be contentious. What they should do with the property depends, though, on a variety of factors.

Who owns the house?

Before determining how to place the asset in an equitable distribution plan, answer this question. If you owned the home before you were married, it may not be marital property. This means that it could be off the table during negotiations or a powerful bargaining chip.

Is there a prenup?

The prenup is a legal document that spells out how to divide assets and liabilities in the case of a divorce. While it is not foolproof, it does protect you from having to sell the house if this is not something you favor.

When you both own it without a prenup

When your divorce requires a division of assets that include the home, you still have some choices.

For example, you might consider trading this asset for others. Examples include stock portfolios with similar values as the home. Another option is buying out the other party. Doing so requires payment of half the home’s current market value. Once the other party is out of the picture, you can retitle the home in your name only.

Some couples choose to keep the home. One party may cease use to the other while both share the upkeep. Consider this option when there are children who would welcome the stable living environment of the home and neighborhood.

When you decide to sell

Finally, you might sell the home. However, this option is not nearly as black and white as you might think. Negotiate the details of the home’s presentation, realtor, escrow requirements, and tax implications before you even start down this road. If you find yourself in a situation where you consider a divorce, consider speaking to a lawyer who can help you think through the asset distribution.