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Who gets the house in a divorce?

Your spouse files for divorce. You know this is eventually going to mean you have to find a new place to live, but what does that process look like? Who gets to keep the home?

First and foremost, you can stay in the house if you legally own it, even after the divorce process has begun. So can your ex. Either one of you is free to move out if you’d like, but you cannot force the other person to do so — nor can you be forced out yourself. The only time when someone may be required to leave is when there is a protection order involved. 

Dividing your assets means deciding what to do with your real estate

More than likely, your home is a marital asset that belongs to you both. This means it needs to be divided in some fashion as part of your divorce. This can be done a few different ways, such as:

  • One party gets their own mortgage and buys out their spouse’s equity in the house
  • One party agrees to take another asset that is equal to the value of the house in exchange for their interest in the property
  • Both parties agree to hold onto the house and maintain it until the equity increases enough to sell it without a loss

Most couples just sell the home on the open market. Then they can count up the proceeds from the sale, split the money, and be done with it. In rare cases, couples agree to jointly own the house after a divorce, but that’s definitely a more complicated route to take.

As you can see, though, you have plenty of different options when it comes to dividing up your property in a divorce. Talking to an experienced attorney can often provide much-needed clarity.