Who Gets to Stay in the House During a Divorce?

The marital home is usually the largest asset in a divorce. Deciding who gets to stay, even temporarily in the home, is one of divorcing couples’ biggest disagreements. If you or a loved one is having trouble figuring out who gets to stay in the home during a divorce, take the mess out of it and contact a California divorce attorney.

California is a community property state. If the marital home was acquired during the marriage, both spouses own half of the home. This means the spouses are equally entitled to remain in the home during the divorce.

If one spouse owned the home before the marriage, he or she may have an argument that the home has remained their separate property and they should get to reside in the home. This can be a difficult argument since both spouses typically contribute to paying for the mortgage and the upkeep of the marital home, making the home a marital asset.

Advantages and Disadvantages to Staying in the House During a Divorce

There are some advantages to staying in the house during a divorce. One of these is that it provides stability for any children living in the home and attending school in the area. This prevents children from the need to change environments or go to a new school during an already stressful time.

Other reasons for staying in the house include:

  • It affords an opportunity to search for a new home;
  • It relieves the stress of finding a new home; and
  • It provides time to have an appraisal on the value of the home and find a real estate agent if the intent is to sell the home.

There are also disadvantages to staying in the house during a divorce. For instance:

  • The mortgage payments may be too difficult to manage alone;
  • There may be emotional pain attached to the house; and
  • The upkeep of the home may be too much for one person.

While either spouse may move out of the house at any time, it is imperative the mortgage continues to be paid. Financial responsibilities do not end with residency.

What to Do with the House After the Divorce

If awarded the marital home in a settlement or final divorce decree, is it better to sell or keep that home? It depends on the situation.

It may be wise to sell the home if:

  • The housing market is strong;
  • There is a need to choose a house that better suits the new family dynamic;
  • A new home or location is better for emotional or mental reasons; and
  • The upkeep of the current home is too much financially or physically.

Keeping the house could make sense when:

  • Closing costs and real estate fees cut into any profits or realized gains;
  • Leaving an old neighborhood behind means children will miss their friends or change schools;
  • The mortgage and bills in the home are affordable;
  • The home is partially paid off; or
  • Custody arrangements make keeping the home convenient for both parents.

An Experienced California Divorce Attorney Can Help

If you have questions or concerns about remaining in your marital home during divorce, contact Moradi Saslaw. Not only are we skilled family law attorneys, but we have the knowledge and experience needed to tackle even the most complex high-asset divorce cases and child custody matters.

Let us stand up for you and support you through your divorce process. Schedule your confidential consultation today.