A house may offer a couple many things: a consistent and stable home, a place for their family to grow or an investment in their future. Unfortunately, if that couple’s marriage ends in divorce, they may wonder whether they will have to leave the place they have come to know as home. What happens to a house in divorce?
Is the house marital property?
In many cases, a couple purchased their home during the course of their marriage. Because property during a marriage is generally community property, this means that the court will generally divide a home purchased after a couple’s wedding along with other property like their savings.
However, in some cases, the court may consider one spouse the sole owner of that house. This may occur if one spouse owned their home before the marriage or received it as an inheritance. As a result, this separate property would stay with that spouse after the divorce process and they could stay in their home as they began the next chapter of their life.
If a house is marital property, what will happen?
Washington courts divide jointly-owned property in a way that is “just and equitable” based on the duration of the marriage and each person’s financial situation. However, this offers a great deal of flexibility. In some cases, a couple may sell their home and divide the money they receive for the sale.
However, maintaining ownership after divorce is possible. If one spouse wants to keep their home, for example, the other may keep a greater portion of the couple’s savings to reach a fair solution. They may also choose to co-own their home with their ex, either to support their growing children or to give them more time to gather the funds to buy out their former spouse’s share of the home’s equity.
While some people move on to a new home as they enter the next chapter of their life, it is also possible for you to stay in your home and build a new life in a familiar place.