If you are going through a divorce, it is natural to wonder what will happen to your house. Due to the complex legal issues in a Pennsylvania divorce, there is no easy answer regarding what happens to the house. This is why representation by an experienced Philadelphia divorce lawyer is essential.
In this article, the knowledgeable divorce lawyers at Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman provide an overview of what happens to the house during the Pennsylvania divorce process.
Who Usually Gets the House in a Divorce?
The answer is “it depends.” Marital property and marital debt includes property and debt obtained during a marriage as “marital property” while property obtained before the marriage as separate property.
Options for What You Can Do with Your House in a Divorce
Popular culture has resulted in people assuming one spouse or the other automatically receives the marital home in a divorce. Further, many people wrongly assume a spouse who commits adultery forfeits their claim to marital property. The reality is if you and your spouse own a house together and are getting a divorce, there are two options for what you can do with the property.
One Spouse Keeps It
Very often, one spouse will want to maintain ownership of the marital home. This is natural as the marital home usually has significant sentimental value and offers stability. If you want to keep your home and remove your spouse from the loan and the title, you should attempt to refinance the mortgage. Refinancing means you obtain a new loan to pay off the old loan and pay your spouse a share of the increase in value of the home. To refinance, you must qualify for a new loan.Once completed and payment is made, you will be the sole person on the new deed and mortgage.
You Sell the House
Another option is to sell the house and split the proceeds. This is a good option if neither spouse can afford the property or if neither wants to keep the property. Additionally, selling the marital home is an easier option as opposed to litigating its equitable division in court.
Situations When the House is Separate from Marital Property
In some cases, the family home may be non-marital property and, therefore, not subject to be equitably divided. If a spouse purchased the home prior to the marriage, it will not be classified as marital property. Additionally, if a spouse purchased the house with an inheritance or non-marital funds, it can be considered separate property.
Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Your House in a Divorce
Fundamentally, divorce means you are ending a painful chapter of your life. This can be a complex process, especially when dealing with your home. An experienced Philadelphia divorce attorney can advise and guide you through this difficult process.
Does a Spouse Have to Agree to a Buyout?
A divorce house buyout means one party purchases the other spouse’s interest in the marital home. Courts in Pennsylvania have broad discretion when equitably dividing marital property. This means you can buyout the other spouse even if they refuse, however you must be able to afford the mortgage payments. If the other party refuses this option, you will need a court order.
Do We Have to Sell the House in Our Divorce?
Maybe. If you and the other spouse cannot agree on how to divide the marital estate in your divorce settlement, a court can order the marital home to be sold and distribute the profit to you and your spouse. In addition to having broad discretion, Pennsylvania law specifically empowers courts to transfer or sell any marital property based on the fair market value.
Talk with a Pennsylvania Divorce Lawyer
Equitably dividing marital property, including the marital home, can be difficult. The dedicated divorce lawyers at Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman have successfully guided clients through the equitable distribution process for over 40 years. To learn more about our services, contact us today for a free consultation.
Summary of What Happens to a House in a Divorce
When it comes to a house in a divorce, there are several options for what you can do with the property. One spouse may keep the house, or you may sell it and split the proceeds with the other party. If the home is separate property and not a marital asset, the spouse who owns it can keep it from being subject to the equitable distribution process during the divorce.