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Who Gets the Family Home After a Divorce?

Asheville Divorce Attorney

For many married couples, the most expensive asset they own is their home. When the couple divorces, the home is marital property and is subject to equitable distribution by the court. This process attempts to divide property fairly but not always equally. Unlike most other assets, a home cannot simply be divided. Either the property will be sold and the proceeds split or the home will be awarded to one spouse with a corresponding adjustment made to the other spouse’s share of marital property. Depending on the state of the housing market, the spouses may risk a loss of value if they have to sell. In that situation, the court must decide who keeps the home.

In North Carolina, for a couple to file for a divorce, they usually must live separately for one year. In other words, one spouse must leave the marital residence and find new living arrangements. Although not residing in the house, that spouse may be required to continue supporting the home’s upkeep. In the divorce proceeding, a court will consider multiple factors to determine which spouse should gain possession of the house and whether the non-resident spouse will be required to continue assisting with its upkeep. The financial situation of both parties as well as the number and ages of any children will be taken into consideration.

The spouse who left the marital home might find it more difficult to argue that they’re entitled to resume living in the house after the separation period. This can be especially true when children are living in the marital home. With the goal of focusing on the best interests of the children and minimizing disruptions to their lives, the court may decide to continue with arrangements that began during the separation.

A court could decide the home should be sold at some future date — e.g., after the youngest child graduates from high school — with the divorced couple splitting the proceeds. Another option would be that one spouse gets the entirety of the home in exchange for greater shares of other marital assets.

If you’re considering a divorce, hiring an experienced attorney as soon as possible can prevent mistakes that could have detrimental effects on your living situation. Even if spouses agree on how to handle a marital property, involving attorneys can be beneficial for the financial health of both parties and to prevent future liability.

The Moore Law Office, PLLC, located in Asheville, North Carolina, is a full-service divorce firm. Our attorneys work diligently to secure the best possible outcomes for our clients during equitable distribution of marital assets. Feel to contact us online or call {PHONE} for an initial consultation.