The family home is a treasured place full of memories, so when divorce is looming dealing with the family home becomes a central topic. You need to make sure your decisions are based on the practical matters of property division and home ownership before deciding whether it is worth it to fight for the family home.
What if I want to keep the house?
If you decide you want to remain in the family home post-divorce you have some options. California is a community property state, meaning that you and your ex each have an equal ownership interest in your marital property. So, if you are awarded the family home, your ex will be awarded assets of a combined similar value.
Alternatively, you could buy out your ex’s share in the property. However, you need to have the finances for the buy-out and subsequent mortgage in your name alone. You also need to be able to afford the costs of home ownership on a single income, including the aforesaid mortgage, property taxes, utilities and upkeep.
Some couples decide to continue owning their home together after the divorce. This may be an attractive option if the market is not the greatest for sellers or if you want to continue raising your children in the family home, and then sell it at a later date when the children are grown.
What if neither of us wants to keep the family home?
If neither you nor your ex wants to keep the family home, you have the option to sell it and split the proceeds made from the sale. There is a certain amount of cooperation should you choose this approach. You and your ex will have to agree on the home’s value as well as whether and when you will accept an offer on the home.
You will also need to decide who will pay what expenses before the closing. For example, the home may need to be staged during the sales process and you will want to keep the lawn mowed, the home in good repair and you will have to pay taxes and the mortgage until the home is sold.
You have options for dealing with the family home in a divorce
You will want to think carefully about how you want to handle the family home post-divorce. You may want to keep it or you may want to sell it. If you keep your emotions in check during the process and think logically and realistically you can determine what options are right for you.