Any divorce lawyer would tell you that divorces are hardly easy. Even if both parties decide to separate on a mutual agreement, there are very few cases where everything ends well with zero disputes especially when it comes to dividing major assets. One of the most important asset couples going through divorce fight over is who gets to hit the house. So what happens to real estate assets once a divorce rocks your marriage? There are different factors. Read on to see what affects the outcome:
Date of purchase
One of the factors that can affect who gets the house is the date when it was purchased. If the house was purchased by one of the parties before the marriage, then it can be considered as a pre-marital asset and the house will go to the party that bought it. In most states, it is still possible to retain exclusive ownership of the real estate even in the absence of a prenuptial agreement. But to do so, the house must be used exclusively for the benefit of the owner. Once it has been shared during the marriage, it will be hard to fight for solitary ownership. Properties that were purchased after the marriage is generally split in a fair manner between both parties.
Use of the house
If the couple used the house as their home when they got married or used the house as a source of income while they are married, the house becomes a marital asset that is subject to equitable distribution between both parties regardless of who owned it or whether or not it was purchased before the marriage.
Should you sell the house?
A clean solution when it comes to dealing with division of real estate assets is to sell them. But sometimes, even the division of proceeds can be messy as one party may want to have more than half of the proceeds. A divorce attorney can help ensure that the cash from the sale will be distributed evenly. When disputes are still not settled, the judge presiding over the case will have to make the final decision for the parties based on fact and the law and this does not assure an arrangement that will leave both parties happy.
How does a judge decide who should get the house or the higher share?
Most judges look at how much each spouse has contributed towards the house. The spouse that has contributed more to the payment of the house usually wins. If both parties do not want to sell the house but want to keep it, each party can be offered to “buy out” their share to make the other walk away without ownership and have their name removed from all papers involving the property. If a judge decides, usually the party who gets the house needs to let go of other assets that they also want to have in order to reach a compromise. To learn more about divorce lawyers, visit aboutdivorce.org.
Divorce can be messy and your emotions can keep you from understanding the law. It is always best to hire legal assistance to protect your assets and finances.