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Determining who keeps the home in a divorce

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2020 | Divorce |

Assets can be hard to divide in a divorce. That’s especially the case if couples purchased a lot during their marriage. One major dispute that might turn up when splitting these assets is who gets the house.

For many Alabama couples, a house can represent a variety of things. For instance, it may provide the wife and children with stability and affluence, especially if the home is in a safe neighborhood with well-funded schools. However, it can also provide benefit to the husband too, as the house may be near his work.

Depending on a couple’s circumstances, figuring out who gets the home can be difficult. In some cases, the home might be in only one spouse’s name if they purchased it before the marriage. But often, couples buy a home after they’re married to make payments on the house more affordable.

If spouses purchased the home together, they often have to decide who keeps the house after they split.

Steps in the home division process

Depending on the couple’s circumstances, these are the steps they may have to take:

  • Determine who gets the home: If spouses can’t agree on who gets the house, they may have to settle matters in court. Those who have primary custody of the children often gain an advantage when presenting their case to a judge. That’s because they can argue that keeping the home can provide more stability for the kids, allowing them to maintain some semblance of security during an unstable process.
  • Determine the home’s value: Before deciding who gets the house, ex-spouses may want to see how much the home is currently worth. Doing so may require some research and conversations with a realtor, but it can help speed up the process. In some cases, couples may be able to deduct a portion of their standard broker’s fee from the home purchase. However, they may want to speak with an attorney first to see if doing so is allowed.
  • Determine buyout costs: Once the couple determines the owner of the home, the spouse who isn’t retaining ownership may not back down immediately. In some cases, they may want a buyout for their share of the mortgage. If the spouse keeping the home can’t afford the full mortgage payment, they have options available. Depending on a couple’s situation, one spouse may be able to request spousal or child support payments that could reduce the buyout price.

Maneuvering through the steps can be challenging

Even if they’re relatively well-off, most people may be hesitant to pay their ex-spouses exorbitant amounts of money for a place they jointly purchased. Luckily, with the right legal and financial assistance, they can reach a negotiation that works for both parties.