Who Gets the House in a Divorce? Top Tips From DoNotPay
One of the biggest fears when filing for divorce is that you will be left with nothing once the process is over.
Your house is often the largest single asset you own, and, understandably, you want to make sure it will be dealt with fairly.
DoNotPay is here to help! Who gets the house in a divorce? We will take a look at what the law says.
In divorce cases in most states, your real property is classified as one of the following:
- Marital or community property
- Separate property
- Mixed property
If you and your spouse bought a property after your marriage, it is automatically considered community-owned. This means that you each own 50% of the property’s equity.
In most cases, if you brought property into the marriage, it is yours. The only change to this rule might occur if your spouse contributed towards mortgage repayments while you were married.
In such cases, a court could designate it—or a portion of the equity—marital property.
A court could decide that a house is mixed property if you acquired the house with your own money, but it increased in value while you were married.
This would mean that the equity on the purchase price of the house is yours alone, but your spouse is entitled to 50% of the increase in equity.
Depending on the state you live in, you may experience different approaches to dividing your property in a contested divorce.
The two approaches to property division in divorce are:
- The 50/50 approach
- Equitable division
Nine states are so-called 50/50 jurisdictions, meaning that they see all community property as being owned to an equal extent by each spouse.
These states are:
In a contested divorce, these states will usually divide the property on a 50/50 basis between you and your spouse. This often means that the house has to be sold to release the equity, which is then shared.
The remaining states favor the equitable division of your property’s equity, meaning that the equity will be shared according to which spouse needs it most.
In contested divorces in these states, the court will look at:
- Child custody, shared parenting, and child support requirements
- Alimony arrangements
- Division of assets and liabilities to ensure both spouses are financially secure
The judge will divide up the marital assets—including your house—to ensure that both parties are as financially secure as possible in such cases.
This entails negotiating with your spouse to reach an out-of-court settlement agreement before your case lands in court. Uncontested cases are also known as friendly divorces and offer the following advantages:
- Your costs are kept to a minimum
- You can often avoid court appearances
- You and your spouse might not need a lawyer
When you are in negotiation with your spouse, there are several ways you can approach the question of your communal real property:
- You can pay your spouse off and keep the house
- You can give your house to your spouse in return for a payout of your share of the equity
- You both agree to sell the house and share the proceeds fairly
When you are deciding how to approach the negotiations with your spouse, you should bear the following in mind:
- Regardless of the reason for your divorce, the settlement agreement has to be fair to be accepted by a judge
- Emotion should play no part in your negotiations—your settlement agreement is a financial arrangement that should allow you to move on, not brood over the past
- Fairness is a two-way street—both you and your spouse need to feel happy that the settlement gives you what you need
- You are aiming for an uncontested divorce to reduce your costs and keep as much equity for yourselves—it is in both your interests to succeed in your negotiations
Your settlement agreement is a legal document that has to cover all the areas of your marriage.
Your options for drawing up a settlement agreement are:
|Settlement Agreement Options||Explanation|
|Lawyer||A lawyer is the default choice for many couples, but you should ask yourself whether it is a necessary expense.
Lawyers charge up to $450 per hour, and preparing uncontested divorce papers can easily cost over $4,500 per spouse.
If you feel you need help negotiating your settlement, consider mediation as an alternative to your attorneys representing you. A trained mediator can help you reach an agreement at a fraction of the cost of two lawyers
|Online service||Many websites offer templates for you to download and fill out. You should exercise caution, though—while they are cheap, many of these templates are too generic to be of any use in your specific situation|
DoNotPay has the solution—we can give you a watertight settlement agreement that covers all your bases without the expense of a lawyer!
However traumatic divorce is, the least you can expect is a fair outcome—and DoNotPay is here to help!
Our Divorce Settlement Agreement feature is designed to generate a tailor-made, comprehensive agreement that reflects the deal you and your spouse have reached.
You can set your agreement up in a few clicks—here’s how:
- Sign up with DoNotPay
- Click on our Divorce Settlement Agreement product
- Follow the prompts and fill in the details to customize your agreement
Once you are done, we will generate your document in a flash. You can sign it together with your spouse and have it notarized.
DoNotPay can support you through various burdensome procedures and turn them into a breeze! Here’s a table showing a tiny part of our extensive offer:
|Create various documents|
|Protect your safety and privacy|
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Don’t bother going through complicated tasks alone—we are here to take care of them! Seek our help if you want to get in touch with customer service instantly, fax anyone online, or get your documents notarized. Besides providing these amazing services, DoNotPay can make preparations for your travel adventures by assisting you in getting passport photos at home and obtaining tourist visas.