What happens to the house in a divorce? In a divorce, property is divided equitably - which is not always equally. Learn more here.

What Happens to the House in a Divorce?

Between 40% and 50% of married couples get divorced. If you’re facing divorce, know that you are not alone.

Divorce is stressful and overwhelming as you are not only ending your marriage, but you also have to figure out what to do with your children, assets, and things like houses, cars, and other property. 

If you and your spouse own a home, you may be wondering what happens to the house in a divorce. Read on to learn more about how that is determined here. 


How Are Assets Divided? 

The division of assets largely depends on what the property was acquired and where you live. 

Marital property, for example, includes anything that you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse earned or acquired together since you were married. This could include income, cars, boats, and property, like the home you bought together. 

On the other hand, separate property is anything that belongs solely to one spouse and was acquired before the marriage. 

States will typically be an equitable distribution state or a community property state

In this US, 40 states are equitable distribution states. This means that assets are divided fairly, which is not necessarily equal. If the two parties can’t decide how to distribute the assets, a judge will decide how to equitably divide assets based on each spouse’s income, earning potential, how much they contributed to the item, etc. 

There are 10 states that are community property states where most everything is split 50/50 unless it was acquired or purchased before the marriage.

For example, if you owned a property before you were married and never added your spouse’s name to the title, it could be considered separate property (this is complicated, though, as your spouse may be entitled to half of the appreciation of the house). 

If there is disagreement about assets and their value, you should definitely read the article “8 Signs That You Should Hire a Divorce Lawyer“. 

So, What Happens to the House in a Divorce? 

Bank accounts, investments, and retirement accounts can easily be divided, but a house is not so easily divided between two spouses. There are a few options for what happens to your house when you divorce and the most ideal outcome is that both parties come to an agreement on their own. 

Divide the Assets

This works if you have multiple properties. One person may keep the main home and the other gets the vacation home and something else valuable, for example. This allows you and your spouse (and your attorneys) to decide the value of your assets and how to divide them. 

Buy the Other Person Out 

If you don’t want to sell your home, you could buy out your spouse, and then you would be the sole owner of the home. This can be expensive, though, especially if your house has increased in value. 

Sell the Home and Split the Proceeds

You could choose to just sell the home and split the process in a community property state or in an equitable distribution state, divvy up the profits based on the factors that determine what percentage of the assets go to what party.

Hire a Divorce Attorney to Handle This For You 

What happens to the house in a divorce? The answer to that question is not as clear as some would like and depends a lot on where you live.

Even if you and your spouse are divorcing amicably and agree on what to do with your home and other assets, you should still consider hiring a divorce attorney to ensure you are being treated fairly. 

If you found these tips useful, be sure to check out some of our other articles before you go.  

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