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Divorce and the family home

When a couple in Pennsylvania decides to end their marriage, they must make difficult decisions such as child custody and division of property. Often, a major asset that couples need to decide on is the family home. Several options are available to couples regarding the family home, and each will depend on various factors.

What are the choices?

As couples negotiate over their home during their divorce, they have three main options to choose from. These include:

  • Keeping the home as a joint asset and selling it later
  • Selling the home and splitting the profits and selling costs
  • Buying the home from one spouse, either through cash payment or some other compensation, such as a different property or a portion of retirement income

The couple’s relationship and their parenting goals

If the couple has an amicable relationship, they might be able to easily decide on what happens to the home, and keeping the home as a joint asset is a possibility that might work. If their relationship is contentious, this might not be an option. Parents often believe that staying in the family home is best for the children. But this is not necessarily true, particularly if the parent who wants to keep the family home struggles emotionally due to the memories it brings or financially if they cannot keep up with the costs of maintaining the home.

The role of individual finances

Each spouse’s financial situation will also be a determining factor in a divorce. If a spouse does not have the credit or income to get a new mortgage to buy out their spouse and maintain the home, selling might be the better option. There are also tax considerations, as selling while still married means they can take advantage of a higher married tax exclusion.

Consider all the possible outcomes of the different options and how these would affect your life post-divorce before deciding. Be honest and open in your communication with your spouse during this period to make the best decision for your family.