Who gets the house after a divorce?

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

You’ve built a life with your family and it has revolved around a house. Now you’re going through a divorce and you’re trying to figure out who will remain in the home.

First, Ohio is a no-fault state, so the reason for the divorce has no bearing on how assets are divided. As an equitable division state, marital property will be divided equitably among both spouses. That includes the house. In addition, a judge considers who has the financial means to stay in the house. As the sole homeowner, you must be able to afford the mortgage, insurance and maintenance.

Determining the future of the family home

You have several options to consider when determining who will be the owner of the family home.

  • Sell the house: You, your ex-spouse and possibly kids may want a fresh start and a complete change in residence. Selling the house is a financially straight forward option. After the sale of the house, you pay off the remainder of the mortgage and split the equity.
  • One spouse remains in the house: If a spouse remains in the house with the kids, this is an additional financial responsibility. The single divorced parent must have the income or financial resources to pay for the house.
  • Both former spouses keep the house: Many reasons may factor into selecting this option. The departing spouse may want the kids to stay in the family home. If the housing market is poor, the sale may result in a loss. Many formerly married couples want to avoid losing money on this big asset. Therefore, both spouses retain an ownership stake in the house and delay the sale.

You should carefully consider all of these options before making a decision about the fate of the family house.

Consulting a financial analyst

A Certified financial analyst can develop a complete analysis and evaluation of your income and ability to support the home. This will help you make an informed decision, so you have a solid financial plan to implement after the divorce. The financial plan is also helpful for your attorney so they can guide you through the divorce proceeding and make decisions in your best interest.

Divorce is an emotionally charged and difficult time. Determining the fate of your home is a big decision because it’s often the family’s largest asset. You need to do your research and carefully consider all your options, so you figure out what’s best for you and your family.

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