Divorce, property division, and the family home

| Jul 23, 2020 | Divorce |

Dividing your marital assets during the divorce process can leave you with a headache. After all, there’s probably a lot to go through, especially if your spouse insists on fighting over every little possession. But as frustrating as property division can be, you shouldn’t rush it just to get it over with. This is because the outcome of your divorce could set the stage for your financial wellbeing for a long time to come, especially when big assets are in play.

What should you do with the family home?

On its face, this might sound like a simple question, but it really isn’t. Dealing with the family home during divorce often pits your emotions against your financial health, meaning you have to find some sort of balance. Here are your options when it comes to dealing with your residence:

  1. Sell the home: A lot of people follow this course of action. They simply agree with their spouse to sell the family home and split any profit. This can ease you from the financial burden of a mortgage that is too costly for you alone while also giving you a nice infusion of cash to start your new life.
  2. Negotiate with your spouse: Whether you want to keep the family home or get rid of it, you might be able to negotiate a favorable resolution with your spouse. This usually involves one party giving up other assets in order to keep the home, so make sure that you’re getting a fair deal. Also, keep in mind that keeping the home, while perhaps emotionally satisfying, comes with some very real financial costs that may be hard to cover by yourself.
  3. Keep the home with your spouse: Co-ownership has its advantages, but it isn’t for everyone. It can allow you to continue to split costs and build equity, and it might even provide your children with some sort of stability. But if you’re not going to live in the home, then you need to factor in your new living expenses in addition to the costs of the family home to determine if it’s really in your financial best interests.

Before negotiating the division of your marital property, or litigating over it, you need to have a sound understanding of what you need, what you want, and where you can give. You should conduct the same analysis of your spouse so that you know how to successfully negotiate with him or her. An attorney who is experienced in family law might be able to help you successfully navigate the process.