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What happens to the family home in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2023 | Family Law |

California follows the concept of community property when dividing assets in a divorce. According to the California Courts, community property is anything a couple obtains during the marriage.

One of the most significant assets typically at the center of divorce property division is the family home. Many couples find themselves facing the question of what will happen to their cherished residence.

Selling the home

When divorcing spouses opt to sell the family home, they typically do so to divide any proceeds fairly. Selling the house can provide a clean break, both financially and emotionally. The process involves listing the property, finding a buyer and finalizing the sale. Once sold, the couple splits net profits according to their agreed-upon terms, which they can negotiate during divorce proceedings.

Selling the home can provide a sense of closure and a fresh start for both parties. It allows each spouse to move forward independently and provides a straightforward way to divide one of the most substantial marital assets.

One spouse keeps the home

One spouse may choose to keep the family home, typically in exchange for other marital assets or a buyout. This decision may result from an emotional attachment to the property, the desire to maintain stability for children or the intention to downsize at a later date.

To facilitate this arrangement, the spouse who wishes to retain the home must compensate the other spouse for their share of the home’s value. The spouse can do this by transferring other assets of equivalent value, such as retirement accounts, savings or investments. Alternatively, the spouse who wants to keep the home can obtain a mortgage to buy out their former partner’s share.

The fate of the family home in a divorce depends on the unique circumstances of each couple. Divorcing spouses have options but ultimately must choose what works best for their specific situation that ensures a fair and equitable outcome.