Who Gets the Family Home in a Divorce?

A marital home is among the most difficult assets to divide in a divorce. With years of memories housed inside and the whole building representing a significant shared financial investment, amicably reaching a solution for its division is a tall task. Ultimately, the answer for who gets the house depends on whether the home is separate or community property.

When Both Spouses Own the House

If both parties have their names on the mortgage and have shared the burden of paying for and maintaining the family home, they are equally entitled to the property. Unfortunately, however, a family home is not so easily divided between two owners. As it cannot be physically split in half or shared in a custody schedule, there are typically only two options for deciding the future of the family home.

As one solution, a judge may order one spouse to receive the house and then “buy out” the other’s share in the property. This way, the non-homeowner is still entitled to a fair portion of the value of their shared home.

Alternatively, a judge may order that the couple must sell the house. After successfully doing so, the couple would divide the profits and then move forward with neither having the physical home, but both having an equal share of the house’s value.

When One Spouse Owns the House

The case is complicated when the house is separate property. When a couple lives in a home that one partner owned prior to their marriage, that homeowner spouse is typically entitled to keep the place. However, it’s possible that the home became “comingled property” during the marriage and, as such, is now susceptible to a shared split.

Even if you didn’t purchase the space, you may be able to make a case for some share of the house based on contributions to home improvements or mortgage payments.

Samra Dhillon & Associates understands how devastating the thought of losing your family home can be. Contact our attorneys online or at (916) 571-1550 for help fighting for your house and a divorce settlement that will benefit you.