The marital home that a husband and a wife reside in during their marital union is one of the valuable assets that the couple owns. Thus, this asset is likely to receive plenty of attention during the separation proceedings. What befalls the house upon divorce is reliant on state laws, conditions pertaining to the house and the parties' actions.
Aspects to consider
The actual date of the acquisition of the home is an important consideration in regards to what happens to the marital home. If one of the spouses owned the home prior to marriage, it may well be viewed as separate property and not subject to distribution. The original owner will retain the whole house and its related value.
However, if the property was bought during the marital union, it is often viewed as a marital asset barring a specific contract to the contrary. This means that the property ought to be divided fairly between the couple.
In the scenario that one spouse formerly wholly owned the asset prior to marriage; the property may well be subjected to partial distribution if it was commingled together with the marital property. If revenue, for example, was generated from the property and the earnings were used to sustain the couple, then the property may well become a piece of the marital estate. Furthermore, if the other spouse contributed to increasing the worth of the home through refurbishments for example, that spouse is entitled for compensation as a result for their role in enhancing the market worth of the property.
With the help of a family law solicitor representing both parties, the couple may arrive at a mutual agreement regarding how to handle the property without necessarily going to court. Some of the alternatives that the couple may look at include the following:
- House sale: The couple may agree to sell the house. The proceeds may be shared equally between the spouses. Alternatively, the sale proceeds may be split according to the proportionate share that every spouse put in.
- Buy out the home: If one spouse wishes to keep the house but the other wishes not to, the first spouse may consider buying out the other partner. This simply means they will pay the other partner to relinquish their ownership of the house. A legal contact to this effect will necessitate the removal of the other spouse from the title deed, mortgage or any other legal association to the property. In case the first spouse lacks enough liquid capital to buy out the other spouse, they may agree to relinquish other properties of the marital estate with equivalent value to the other spouse's ownership interest in the house.