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Who keeps the marital home after a divorce?

Whether you have lived in your home for a few years or several decades, you likely have an emotional attachment to it. You may have raised your kids there, made it your own, created hundreds of fond memories and more.

In a divorce, determining the fate of your home can be complicated. Pennsylvania follows equitable distribution guidelines when dividing the marital property of a divorcing couple. As your home is likely one of your most significant marital assets, deciding who, if anyone, will retain the home can involve careful consideration of your options.

Deciding whether to stay in the home

First, consider the financial components of keeping the house, including whether you can afford monthly mortgage payments, maintenance costs, property taxes, insurance fees and more. Additionally, determine whether you can refinance the home to put it into your own name. Take into account what your post-divorce financial picture will look like, including your income, investments and potential alimony or child support payments.

Once you feel confident in your financial stability to stay in the home, evaluate other key considerations. For those with young children, having one parent remain in the home can provide a sense of comfort and stability in a time filled with change. However, you may feel hesitant to commit to the upkeep of the home or at the possibility of conceding other marital property or assets.

Options to sell or keep the house

You and your ex-spouse have several options to address your house in a divorce agreement:

  • Divide significant assets. If you wish to stay in the home, your ex may wish to retain other valuable marital property or assets of similar or equal value.
  • Buy out the others interests. In some situations, you may be able to buy out the interests of your ex-spouse based on the current market value of the home.
  • Sell the home. When staying in the home is impractical for either spouse, you may choose to sell it and equitably split the proceeds from the sale.
  • Continue to co-own the home. While not always ideal, this may be temporarily practical to maintain stability for children before eventually selling.

With the abundance of uncertainty that comes with divorce, staying in your marital home may be both comfortable and practical. Carefully consider the financial implications of your decision and work with an attorney to determine what is in your long-term interests.

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