Disclaimer: This blog does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation, it is best to seek the advice of an experienced legal professional.
For many people, a house represents one of the largest assets that must be decided upon during a divorce. Your house may also have special meaning to you if you’ve lived in it for years or it was your first home. You might also be concerned about having to move out of your house if it’s near where you work or you’ve developed many friendships nearby. In most cases, someone will have to move out after the divorce, and it’s possible both of you might. Figuring out who gets to keep the house in your divorce takes you one step closer to planning for the next part of your life. The San Diego divorce mediation experts from Divorce Options San Diego offer the following advice on how to decide who will keep the house after the divorce.
Understand the Community Property Presumption
In California, there are laws regarding how community property is divided during a divorce. If you bought your home after you were married, it will be considered jointly owned. If one of you bought the house before you got married, it technically should belong to the person who purchased it. However, this can get complicated. If the other spouse contributed toward mortgage payments, repairs, or remodeling, he or she may be considered a joint owner. You’ll need to carefully look at how you’ve managed your household to determine who has rights to ownership of the house.
Explore Your Options
There are several different methods you can use to decide who gets the house. If neither of you is interested in keeping the house, you can put it on the market and divide the profits. This is also an option if you reach a complete standstill and cannot decide who should stay in the house. Another option is to have the spouse who wants to stay in the house buy out the other spouse’s share. This can be done by having the spouse buying out the house give up a certain portion of the other assets, or it could be accomplished through a more traditional buyout.
In California, community property law usually overrides title law. Sometimes the spouse who isn’t on the title could get the house, especially if he or she also gets primary custody of the children, and the other spouse can get his or her half of the community property through other assets.
Consider the Children’s Needs
When children are involved in a divorce, their needs come first. In some cases, the court may recommend adding stipulations, such as a condition stating the spouse who stays in the house cannot sell it for a certain amount of time. You may also want the home to go to the spouse who will have physical custody of the children so they can continue to live their lives as normally as possible during the transition.
Work Through the Decision in Mediation
As with many aspects of divorce, deciding who gets the house may get complicated and heated at times. A mediator can help you both understand your rights to the property along with what the state expects to see in your final agreement. Although it may take several sessions, working out this agreement with a mediator allows you the best chance to get your desired outcome.
The mediators at Divorce Options San Diego are all certified financial planners who apply thorough analysis to your divorce to achieve an optimized result that will cover all aspects of your financial situation, including investments, property, and all other assets or debts. All the practical, legal, financial, and psychological aspects of fair, respectful divorce agreements can be managed by Divorce Options San Diego’s experienced, trustworthy San Diego divorce mediators. Couples can rely on our comprehensive process, which is so thorough there won’t be a need for attorneys. Give us a call today at 858-281-2628.