For most people, their home is their biggest asset and can be one of the more contentious issues in divorce. How will you determine who gets to stay and who has to give up their home? Are there other ways you can handle it?

There is one simple answer: if your home is considered separate property then the spouse who owned it prior to your marriage, gets it. However, more commonly, couples buy their homes together, after marriage and own it together. This is where this issue can get more complicated.

Common Options

There are several ways you can handle this issue and create an equitable division of property regarding your home including:

  • One spouse buys out the other and takes sole ownership of the house
  • Selling the house and splitting remaining debt or profits
  • Continue to co-own the home and rent it out, sharing the profits
  • Allow one spouse to keep the house in exchange for another asset or assets of equal value (i.e. you get the house, if I get our lake house)

Many couples can come to one of these types of agreements and it’s easiest to try and work out this issue with your spouse, rather than take it to a judge.

Additionally, you may not know exactly how you feel about keeping your house. It can be a tough decision to make.

Should You Fight To Keep Your House?

If you are drawn toward trying to keep your house, make sure you have good reasons. You may want to consider the following:

  • Can I afford it? Between mortgage payments, taxes and insurance, be sure you can afford to keep the house under an adjusted, single income.
  • Is there another asset I’d rather have? Would I rather have buy-out money or sale profits?
  • Is it a good investment?
  • Does it make sense to keep the house? Would it be easier for my kids? Some parents decide to let one stay in the house in order to facilitate co-parenting and create more consistency for their children.

The family home is a complicated asset since it generally has many emotions tied to it. You’ll want to think carefully about how you handle this part of your divorce. Go over all your options and talk to your divorce attorney about how to achieve the best possible outcome.