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Can I get the house in the divorce?

If you are in the midst of a divorce, you and your spouse may be battling over who gets to keep the house. While it is always best to come to an amicable decision between yourselves, sometimes the decision does wind up being made by the judge.

It's understandable to want to remain in the family home. You're emotionally attached, it's a hefty asset and if you have children, you don't want to force them to move elsewhere.

Below are some things you should understand if you want the house but your ex opposes you.

  • Neither of you may wind up with it. The court can order the property to be sold and the profits divided between the spouses.
  • The parent with custody of the kids could wind up with the property. In keeping with their intention of doing what is in the children's best interests, judges may grant possession of the family home to the parent who will have physical custody of the kids. The order could further state that the house must be sold after the kids have grown up and moved out.
  • You have to be able to afford it. It's useless to fight to keep a property that you can no longer afford. Mortgage payments, maintenance and property taxes all add up, and may not be offset by spousal and/or child support.
  • An inherited property is likely to remain with the heir. Even if both of your names are on the property deed, if your husband or wife inherited the home from parents or other deceased relatives, the courts are likely to factor that into the decision of post-divorce ownership.

Sometimes fighting tooth and nail for the home is unwise. For instance, trading your share of the 401(k) or pension benefits for the home can be a bad deal. Real estate markets fluctuate, and the value of the home could wind up being significantly less than the trade-off.

Your Fort Lauderdale family law attorney can advise you of the best path to take when it comes to keeping the home or divesting your interest in the property.

Source: Realtor.com, "Getting a Divorce? Here’s Why You Might Not Get the House," Warren Christopher Freiberg, accessed Dec. 29, 2017

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