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Primary Residence & Divorce

My wife and I are getting divorced, and we own the home we’ve lived in for the past 10 years. What usually happens to homes during a divorce?

You’re not alone! Majority of the couples we help through a divorce are homeowners. The first issue that usually arises is whether one spouse will move out of the house during the divorce process. Most don’t know what to expect because there’s confusion as to whether the house will be given to one spouse, or sold altogether. These issues can become further complicated when dealing with a home that does not have significant equity (if any at all), and each spouse still wants the home for themselves once everything is finalized.

There are no permanent rules when it comes to a divorce that involves a home, but usually the home will be sold (with the proceeds being split among both parties), or, if one party wishes to keep the home, they will pay the other party their share of the equity (buyout). You should not expect the court to deal with real estate the beginning of the case, and unless you and your spouse can come to an agreement regarding the house, courts don’t deal with homes until the end. Temporary orders that the court focuses on are related to custody, support, and attorney fees. However, there are exceptions related to court orders on a home which is in jeopardy of loan default or foreclosure.

Regardless, you should expect to communicate with your wife to decide who keeps the house. If you do not agree, decide who intends to buy the other out. In cases that involve a buyout, whether you are the one buying out or the one being bought out, it’s important to ensure that the spouse being bought out is removed from title and loan documentation. An experienced family law attorney can assist you further with reaching a solution for your home.

Learn about the steps you'll take during separation and avoid mistakes along the way. Be better prepared to start (or finish) your divorce with tailored info from attorney, Cristin Lowe.

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