If you and your spouse are facing divorce, one of the biggest questions you likely have is “what happens to the family home”. On the one hand, your house is a major financial asset; on the other hand, you and your children may also have a strong emotional attachment to the home, the neighborhood and area schools.
Often a judge will award the spouse with primary caregiver responsibilities possession of the family home while the divorce is ongoing. However, depending on your family’s specific circumstances, it may not be affordable or desirable to fight for possession after your divorce is complete.
Can you afford to keep the house post-divorce?
Your first instinct may be to insist on keeping the house, especially if you will be the custodial parent. However, that may not be realistic if you are moving from a two-income to one-income household. Additionally, you may not be able to afford maintenance and tax expenses on top of mortgage payments, especially if you need to refinance at a less desirable rate.
What happens if a judge awards the house one ex-spouse?
Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state. That means that, during divorce, the court tries to divide shared marital assets in a way that is fair to both parties. Since you and your spouse both have claims on your home’s equity, fighting for possession may mean that you must give up other valuable assets in exchange.
If your divorce goes to court, a family law judge may have the final say about how to divide your shared assets, including the house. However, if you can agree to discuss settlement terms outside of court, either mediation or collaboration may help you to negotiate a financial division that works for you both while ensuring stability and support for your children.