Divorce is about far more than just ending your marriage. You have to divide your marital property, divide parenting time with the kids, close your joint accounts, take a look at your estate planning, reconsider your retirement plans and much more. It can be an intense process with a lot at stake.
One of the biggest questions that people ask regarding property division is if they’re going to lose their house. They may have lived there for years or even decades. Are you going to have to uproot your life and start over?
You may. Say that you own your home outright, without a mortgage, and that you and your spouse bought it together. That means it is joint property. Your spouse has as much of a claim to it as you do.
If you want to keep it, you may be able to buy out your spouse’s half. If the home is worth $400,000 in the current market and you have $200,000 from an inheritance, you can give that money to your spouse and own 100% of the house after the divorce. In other cases, people will barter with other marital property. You might give up your claim to a joint retirement account or investment portfolio in order to keep the house, for example.
Your spouse can’t take your home from you, as you also have a claim, but you may lose it if the two of you can’t come to an agreement. The only real way for many people to divide a home is to sell it and divide the money. This is especially true for those who own the home on a mortgage that they can’t afford on their own or if they just don’t have enough other assets to offset the value of the house.
These situations get complicated, so be sure you understand all of your rights.