When you and your spouse decide to divorce, suddenly you have to face the reality that at some point one of you will have to move out of the family home. You wonder who will get to keep the house once you’ve divided your assets.
Will it matter that you want to keep it, so your children don’t have to face another transition because of your divorce?
Equitable distribution of property
In Georgia, divorcing couples have equitable distribution of their assets. That means that the couple’s marital assets, including property, are divided fairly, not necessarily 50-50. The court will decide what the equitable distribution of the home is based upon how long you’ve been married, how much money you each make, who will have primary custody of your children and other factors.
If you bought your home while you were married, that means you and your spouse will split its value. If you bought it before you were married, but both of you have contributed toward paying the mortgage, your spouse still will receive some share of the home’s value.
Of course, you will need to find out the current value of your house is and subtract the amount you still owe on the mortgage. Then you can know how much money you and your spouse will split. Most likely, your home will be you and your ex’s largest joint asset.
To keep the home in the divorce
If you want to keep the house in the divorce, you will likely face two options:
- Refinance it so you can buy out your spouse for their share of its worth.
- Give your spouse other assets (such as more of your retirement account) to buy out their share of the house’s worth.
Before you do that, make sure you can afford the house on your own. You need to be able to pay the mortgage and the costs to maintain it.
You may decide keeping the family home is very important – to maintain stability for your children, to keep them in the same schools and near their friends. Working with your divorce attorney can help you navigate how you can negotiate keeping the family home with your ex and come to a fair property division agreement.