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Should you keep the family home after a divorce?

Is there an ideal way to divide the family home? As an equitable distribution state, Pennsylvania law requires marital assets to be divided fairly, but not necessarily exactly the same. That approach, when applied to the family home, may involve several factors.

First, a custodial parent who seeks to remain in the family home might have a strong argument if he or she wants to provide continuity to minor children. Yet finances might not always permit that choice. Depending on the amount of equity in the home and its fair market value, a parent may still have to relocate and downsize.

As a family law firm that has helped many couples with property division in a divorce, we understand that a home can be a hot button issue. We usually recommend an appraisal to start the discussion. If there is enough equity in the home, those costs might come out of the sale proceeds. If not, an individual with an underwater home may prefer to remain in the home until he or she has accrued more equity.

At the same time, an individual must examine whether it is feasible to refinance the home mortgage solely in his or her name. If finances after a divorce will necessitate downsizing, there may be no other option than selling the home. In that event, the best timing might be during the divorce, before it is finalized. There are costs that an individual will incur from selling a home, not to mention moving, all of which might be more manageable if shared.

Source: Huffington Post, “Keep or Sell the Family Home During Divorce?” Nancy Kay, March 1, 2016

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