In a divorce, who should get the house?

Topic: Divorce
Jul 26, 2021

During a divorce, one of the more controversial issues is regarding who gets to keep the house. More often than not, the home is the most valuable asset in a divorce. In addition to the purely financial aspects of owning the home, leaving the place you’ve called home can be emotional especially when kids are involved. 

If you want the house, have a good reason

If you’re in a divorce, there may be a good reason to want to keep the family home and stand your ground. It’s important however – to make sure those reasons are sound.

School aged children might be dealing with enough emotional pain from the divorce, so moving out of a home might compound their emotional stress. If you’re worried about this and are unsure as to what is best for the family, seek help from therapists who can help the answer come into clearer focus. 

Some folks decide to stay in their home because they’ve got an emotional attachment to it, which is understandable. You put all this time and money towards having a dream house, it’s hard to walk away. As much as this might not be a ‘fact’ based reason – your emotional health is an important factor in the decision and should be treated as such. 

Bad reasons to keep your home include spite, control, vindication and greed. Don’t let your hostilities towards your spouse cloud your judgement. While it might be hard for you to leave a home in the short term, it might be what’s best in the long term. 

Can you afford it?

We can discuss the emotional and practical ties to keeping your home in a divorce all we want, but at the end of the day, if you can’t afford your home; you can’t live there. In fact, you wouldn’t be alone. Most families are able to maintain the same lifestyle they had prior to their divorce. 

The financial aspect is real, too. Why medicate one kind of pain with something that is going to create a whole other source of pain for you? Talk to a financial advisor and determine what the best course of action is for you. 

Try to work with your spouse

Many times, spouses agree on separating property and this may, in fact – be you! You don’t have to like each other – but working together to achieve a desired result one final time might be in both your best interests. And most of all – the decision should come from you and your soon-to-be-ex. This is your life, not someone else’s! It’s better to come from the two of you than a stranger in a black robe. 

It’s best to consult an experienced attorney or mediator so you can make sure you’re protecting your legal rights when it comes to any issue in divorce, but specifically with regards to your home. This isn’t just for your protection – it’s for both of you. This will keep everyone above board and maintain the best faith chance that you can work together to achieve the desired outcome.