Who Gets the House in a Divorce?
One of the biggest considerations during a messy divorce is whether you will lose the house. As a community property state, California has rules regarding the distribution of property in a divorce that may affect whether you get to keep the house after your divorce is finalized. At Kearney Baker, our high asset divorce attorneys understand how stressful and emotional the prospect of losing your home can be on top of everything else that is happening during the divorce process, and we are here to help. If you would like to talk to an experienced California divorce attorney about what may affect your chances of losing the house in a divorce, call or contact us today to schedule a free consultation of your case.
Community Property Distribution Laws
California is a community property state, and the laws regarding property distribution require that all marital property be split equally between spouses in a divorce. The first issue in figuring out whether you will lose the house is determining whether the house is considered separate or marital property. In the vast majority of cases, the primary residence is considered marital property if you purchased the house after the marriage or if any marital funds were used in the payment, upkeep, or material improvements to the home. If one spouse owned the home prior to the marriage and no marital funds were utilized for it, it could be considered separate property and revert to the spouse that owned it prior to the wedding.
The next step in determining whether you will lose the house in a divorce is to value the total assets of the marital estate. Typically, the home is the most valuable asset that needs to be distributed in a divorce. However, if enough other assets exist in the marriage that could offset the value of the home, you could hold on to the property while your spouse takes other items of value to maintain an equal split of assets.
One final aspect to consider when determining whether or not you will lose the house in a divorce is to review the costs associated with keeping the home. Talk to your divorce attorney and financial advisor about the monthly and yearly costs of paying for the primary residence on your own. Can you afford the monthly mortgage payments, utility bills, maintenance, and annual property taxes? If your budget allows for these additional costs, you may be able to keep your house after the divorce. If not, you may need to consider selling the house in order to afford a residence within your budget on a single income. Your divorce attorney will be able to review all of these considerations, and more, with you when reviewing your California divorce case.
Talk to Our Office Today
At Kearney Baker, our experienced California high asset divorce attorneys understand why it is important to try and keep your home after a messy divorce and will work through all of your options with you during this difficult time. Call the office or contact us today to speak with an attorney.