Your home is one of your most valuable assets, if not be single most expensive possession you share with your spouse. The average home price in Pennsylvania is currently over $267,000, and you may have many years of equity established in the home.
Concerns about the house might make you hesitate to take action when you feel like your marriage has failed. After all, divorce often leads to contentious and unpredictable property division proceedings. When you have more information about how you divide your assets in a divorce, you may start to feel more comfortable with the idea of both ending your marriage and simultaneously protecting your finances.
Who will typically keep the home when you divorce?
Sometimes, one spouse has the main interest in the property. There are situations in which one spouse may have a stronger claim to retaining possession or occupancy of the marital home in a Pennsylvania divorce.
For example, if they owned the house prior to marriage, at least a portion of its equity could be excluded from the divorce because it is separate property. Similarly, if the house has passed down through one family for several generations and was part of someone’s inheritance, they may have an easier time convincing a judge to award them the home in a divorce.
Finally, the likely outcome of your custody negotiations if you share minor children can also influence what happens with the home. Allowing the parent with more time with the children to remain in the home can often be the best option for the family. Doing so can keep the children in the same school district and reduce how many changes they have to adjust to at once.
Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state
If you end up going to court, a judge will have to do what is fair with your property given your family history and the unique financial circumstances of each spouse. They may award the home to one spouse and compensate the other with home equity. They might even order the couple to sell the property. They will have to consider your earning potential, your contributions to the marriage and even your custody arrangements before reaching a decision about the house.
Making sense of the rules that apply in a Pennsylvania divorce can help those worried about what will happen to their most valuable assets.