Law Office of Stephen W. Penn and Associates

When a marriage ends, should you keep your family home?

When you were trying to find your family home, it may have taken a great deal of time and effort. Buying a house is not an easy task, and once you found a place that fit your needs and the needs of your family, you likely felt a great sense of relief. However, you may once again have worries about your family home now that you are going through divorce.

The house can be a major asset that needs addressing during property division proceedings. It could take you and your soon-to-be ex a great deal of time to determine what to do with the home, and you may want to understand the most plausible options in order to prepare for what could lie ahead.

Keep or sell?

Generally, the two main options for dealing with the house are for one person to keep the home or to sell the property. Your initial reaction may be to keep the house because you have such a sentimental attachment to it. If you do want to follow this route, you may want to closely assess your current and future financial situation, remembering that you will soon only have a single income after divorce.

If your finances allow it, you may have the ability to buy out your ex and keep the home yourself. On the other hand, if you do not want to keep the home and your ex does, he or she may want to buy your portion of the property. You may also want to remember that the mortgage lender could still hold you liable for payments in the event that your ex does not make payments on time.

If you have worries about not having enough income to cover house payments on your own or fear that your ex may skip mortgage payments and put you in a difficult financial position, you may consider selling the home outright. If you have equity in the house, you may have the ability to sell the home and make a profit. After carrying out this action, you and your ex could split the proceeds from the sale.

Negotiating

Property division can often require a considerable amount of negotiation. Depending on what you want to do with the family home and your ex's views on the matter, you may have to contend with drawn out proceedings. If you have a particular outcome you want to achieve, you may want to consider your legal options for working toward the desired results.

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  • SCBA | Santa Clara County Bar Association | EST 1917
  • State Bar Of California | California Board Of Legal Specialization | Stephen W. Penn
  • Henry P. Collada Memorial Award 2012