Real property, such as houses, vacant land or even commercial holdings, can be the most valuable possessions a couple acquires during their marriage. The value represented by real property is one of the reasons why real estate holdings often become the most contested property during a divorce.
In general, there will be three ways for you and your ex to handle the property you purchased during your marriage. Your preferences, relationship and plans for the future can all influence which of these three options might be best for you.
One spouse can keep the house
If you own multiple homes, allocating them to individual spouses can be a quick and easy way to split them up. If you only have one house, you may have to reach an agreement about which one of you stays in that home.
The person who gets to keep the house will usually have to split at least some of the equity with their ex unless there is other property that can compensate them for the loss of the equity in the home.
The spouses can sell the house and share its value
Sometimes, the property that a couple qualifies for isn’t affordable for one person. If neither of you can afford the mortgage after cashing out some of the equity or if neither of you feels strongly enough about the property to want to keep it, the best approach may be to sell the property and then split the proceeds.
You could set terms to retain joint ownership
There are several ways a couple can share real estate after a divorce. If they own a duplex, they might agree that each spouse gets one unit. If the market isn’t good enough for them to recoup their investment in the property, they might agree to rent it out until they can sell it for the right price.
They might even try nesting, where they both stay in the family home or alternate their time living near to keep things stable for the kids. Talking about your family’s circumstances and your assets with a lawyer can give you a better idea about what approach would work best in your divorce.