Divorcing Property: Who Gets to Keep the House After a Split?

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Divorce brings a lot of stressful matters into the spotlight, one of them being splitting the marital home. While some couples manage to reach an agreement regarding who gets to keep the house, others are not so lucky and go through disagreements during the whole process.

A home is perhaps the largest asset that must be split during a divorce. It’s only normal to experience some issues and worry about this complex process.

What happens to the house, and who gets to keep it after the separation? Read all about it in this post.

Who Decides the Ownership of the House During a Divorce?

If you get divorced and you own a house with your spouse, it’s clear that it must be decided who is going to keep it.

When you’re still on good terms with your ex-spouse despite the separation, deciding on home ownership may be easier. You can both discuss your options and potential concerns and reach a consensus.

Generally speaking, figuring it out with your spouse without having to go through unpleasant court procedures is preferred as it saves time, money, and stress.

There is also a small disadvantage, though – in some cases, one of the spouses may be manipulated in negotiations in such a way that he or she ends up with less than they would obtain under other circumstances. This is especially the case when one of the spouses was dominant during the marriage due to having a stronger personality.

But if you cannot figure it out with your spouse, the judge will be the one deciding how the property is divided. In some cases, it’s your only option, but you are still entrusting a third party with the choice.

While judges are experienced with these cases, they may not always consider all the details of the divorce for the division. Aside from the judge, lawyers will also contribute to the final decision of the court. Obviously, this will only add to the costs, but it’s a must if you want the property to be divided conveniently.

Who Gets the House?

Who gets the house varies from one case to another. Usually, one partner will be interested in keeping the house following divorce proceedings. This is because the spouse may want to give the children a stable home for some time, helping them get used to the changes and deal with the transition.

If one parent gets custody of the children, then the court will certainly consider granting them the house to ensure the children live in a stable environment. However, it is harder for the judge to make a decision when parenting time is equal.

The court will also look at details such as the income of the two spouses, as well as any potential debt they owe. Property is generally divided equitably and not equally. With equitable distribution, the house can be distributed fairly according to the court.

Many times, the court will divide the property equally, but it’s not always the case.

Consider Whether You Want the House

When it comes to dividing the house after a split, you should think about whether you truly want it or not.

Living in a house for an extended period will inevitably lead to memories that you want to keep as fresh as possible. These may include family time, birthday parties, pets, BBQs, and so on. If you lose the house, it’s like losing a part of yourself.

However, you seriously need to think whether you are able to maintain those memories alive despite not living in that same house.

You may also want to keep the house for your kids, especially if you don’t want the divorce trauma to get even worse for them by moving houses. The good news is that children tend to adjust over time, even if they are understandably affected by the split.

Homes do not only hold good memories, but also bad ones in some cases. If that house witnessed a lot of yelling, abuse, and toxicity, then leaving it behind may be better for your mental health and a fresh start.

The Bottom Line

Divorce rates are on the rise. So, to ensure you get the best outcome out of your case, you should have a lawyer by your side. For example, in Colorado, there were 6.7 marriages per 1,000 residents in 2020, which was a decrease from 2019. Meanwhile, the state had 2.9 divorces per 1,000 residents. If you live in the state and you need to divide a house following a divorce, don’t hesitate to reach out to Colorado family law attorneys.