HOW DO I KNOW IF I SHOULD KEEP OUR MARITAL HOME?
When spouses choose to split up in California, one of the biggest issues many couples face is which person has the right to stay in the house the couple shared. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this dilemma, but may help you to understand how some of the most common scenarios often play out.
In many cases, one spouse wants to keep the marital home. Sometimes the couple has children who need a home, or a spouse wants to retain ownership of the home for sentimental reasons. In California, this is trickier than in many other states. Not only are home values typically much higher here than in other most other areas of the country, community property laws make it a little more complicated to divide up the value of the home.
If you have children and are unsure who will keep your home, the courts often give a marital home to the parent who does the majority of the child-rearing. If you and your spouse share these duties equally, then it may take some time and strategy to sort out.
If you have no children, then it may come down to a matter of separate versus marital property. If you bought the home with your own funds, apart from your spouse, then you may have grounds to claim that the home is your separate property, not community property to be divided. In the event that you own the home outright, you may have the legal authority to evict your spouse either before or after the divorce finalizes.
If the two of you both have an equal claim to the home, one party may have to buy out the other party’s interest in the property if he or she wishes to keep the home. Otherwise, you may have to sell the home and split the proceeds.
Of course, these are only very simplistic examples of how things may play out in your case. The details of your and your spouse’s financial lives and the nature of your marriage may dictate a much different outcome. Be sure that you seek out professional, experienced legal counsel before you give up opportunities and rights in a divorce.
Source: Findlaw, “Divorce Property Division FAQ,” accessed Oct. 17, 2017