When you and your spouse get a divorce, you have to figure out how to split the house. Unlike other assets, it may be harder to neatly divide a house in a way that is fair to both you and your spouse.
There are two main ways you may handle your real estate. According to Homelight.com, spouses may sell the house and divide the profit or one spouse may purchase the other’s equity. There are several elements that you need to consider before you divide the house.
Who owns the house?
You may think that you and your spouse are both entitled to an equal share of the house. However, your share depends on whose name is on the title. California is a community property state, and courts usually divide the marital property between the spouses. If your spouse purchased the house before you got married, courts may consider it to be separate property.
Can you afford the house?
If you feel attached to your family home, you may want to remain there. You may purchase your spouse’s share of the house if you and your spouse bought the property together. You will need to get an appraisal of your house so you know how much it is worth. Can you afford to pay your spouse for his or her half of the equity? Can you pay the taxes on the house by yourself? Are the homeowner’s association fees still manageable? The divorce may cause you to lose access to some of your assets. Before you purchase your spouse’s share of the house, you need to make sure that you have enough assets to make this sale feasible.
As you decide what to do with the house, you and your spouse may want to specify which of you will pay the mortgage and for any upkeep. This may make this part of the divorce process smoother for both of you.