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Divorce and dividing the family home

Pennsylvania couples who decide to divorce will have major decisions to make about how to handle the family home. The marital home is often one of the largest and most valuable assets to be included in divorce negotiations, and it can carry emotional significance beyond its financial value. In addition, unlike bank accounts and retirement or investment funds, real estate cannot be easily divided in two. As a result, many people decide to sell the home as part of the divorce.

By selling the marital home, the couple can use the proceeds to pay off any mortgage obligations before dividing the remaining funds as part of the divorce agreement. However, in some cases, one spouse wants to keep the home; this is particularly common when children have grown up in and want to remain in the house. However, there are some practical matters to keep in mind when choosing this option. The remaining spouse will generally need to buy out the other spouse from his or her equity stake. If the couple has significant equity in a high-value home, this can pose a serious challenge.

In addition, one person may have difficulty maintaining the mortgage payments previously handled by both spouses. In most cases, the remaining spouse will need to refinance the mortgage into his or her own name; otherwise, the other spouse would remain tied to the home and any associated debts. It can also be important to transfer the deed into the remaining spouse's name only at the same time to prevent the other spouse from retaining an interest in the property.

People who are considering divorce may be concerned about the long-term financial effects of the end of the marriage. A family law attorney may be able to help a divorcing spouse negotiate a fair settlement on property division and related matters.

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