The fights and battles that ensue in the debate over which spouse has a right to keep the family home is always sprinkled with a large amount of emotion as well as sheer hatred at times when a marriage ends on bad terms. While some spouses are able to come to a mutual decision, others are unable to come to an agreement on anything other than their dislike of each other. If you fall into the category of only agreeing that you dislike each other then you are looking at a potentially long and drawn out divorce.
However, there are several factors that can help you determine exactly what your chances of keeping the family home really are. When you take away the financial aspects that accompany the home there are still several key issues that the judge will most likely address. However, if you and your spouse can come to an agreement it is likely to be much better than what the judge gives you so try to negotiate with your spouse first before insisting on the judge divide up the home.
To determine who gets the family home one of the criteria looked at is who will be receiving primary custody when children are involved.
When this is a factor to be considered, it is taken into account that a divorce is very traumatic for a child and that forcing them to move in the midst of a divorce can make an already bad situation very difficult. This means that generally the parent who is awarded custody will stand a much better chance of also being awarded the home. It is often for this reason why so many parents dig in their heels on custody when what they really want is the home, because often kids and home are a packaged deal. There are times when a completely new home for the child is better, but a judge will usually not follow this thought process unless there is a very specific reason why it is considered that a fresh start would be best.
Another factor that helps determine the settlement of the home is the emotional attachment that one or both spouses have to the home. For example, if the home has been in your family for 5 generations before you were ever married, then chances stand to reason that you will be awarded the home. Alternatively, if the home was in your spouses' family for many years before the marriage then they are more likely to be awarded the home. This works for either side, and can sometimes cause a major conflict with the ideas of leaving the children in the home if the parent with the greatest attachment to the home is not the parent who is awarded primary custody. Also, many stay at home parents are considered to have a much greater attachment to the home than spouses who are gone at work all day, this tends to be another advantage that a stay at home spouse has in the battle of the home.
There is another factor that can be considered as well. If the family home can be used as a bargaining tool then it often is used. For example, someone might be willing to give up the family home in exchange for a vacation home and even a car. On the other hand, there may be a different factor that could play into this, but often there is some form of bargaining that can occur when you are trying to decide who should get the house. There are often times when the spouse who can afford the house the least is who is actually awarded the home because of various other reasons that pull in their favor. Therefore, it is increasingly obvious that having more money is not always the deciding factor.
As you move forward remember, that the house is much better if you are both able to come to a mutual agreement. You should never let a judge decide the fate of the family home unless you and your spouse are completely unable to speak to each other. If you think that a mediation session may help you come to an agreement give it a try, after all you are seeking a resolution for your home and the home of your children.
Here are additional resources you might be interested in:
Tax Considerations when Selling your House
Can you Afford to Refinance the Mortgage?
What Options Do I Have with the Family Home?
Divorce and the Division of Property
More information on Divorce Properties and Finances click here