Who Keeps the Marital Home: A THIRD Option

marital home

For those couples who have reached an impasse in their marriage and have decided that it is best if they separate, a decision must be made regarding what will happen to the marital home in which they lived together. In these tough economic times, when properties are not appreciating like they did in years past, dividing the marital home has become a tricky endeavor and in many cases, quite a burden.

Many couples today who are divorcing have to determine if one spouse can afford to retain and maintain the home that was highly likely purchased during the marriage based on a two salary income.

Quite simply: if one spouse is willing and able to keep the home and continue making mortgage payments while the other spouse is in agreement (and in a position) to move out, the obvious option exists to refinance the mortgage in order to remove the relocating spouse from the loan documentation and, in doing so, absolving the him/her of any responsibility (financial or otherwise) regarding the marital home.

Sometimes, however, it may be quite desirable for the spouse with a lower income to remain in the home (typically the wife) for the sake of continuity for any children born of the marriage. At first glance, this situation seems fraught with difficulties and heartache. Luckily, it may be possible but just not as cut and dry as the couple may wish it could be. In years past, when a couple divorced, the marital home was either put up for sale (and when sold, any profits were divided between both spouses), or the home was bought out by one spouse, giving the other spouse ample money to move forward in finding a new place to live.
These days, a third option does exist for divorcing couples who wish for one spouse to remain in the home even though s/he may not be able to afford the mortgage payments alone. This solution comes in the form of joint ownership of the home until it becomes financially possible for the spouse remaining in the home to take on the mortgage alone.

This may be a less than desirable solution for couples who wish to separate not only in body but also in property. However, as today’s job market and economy are still sluggish and slowly recovering, remaining joint owners of the marital home while going through a separation and divorce may make the most financial sense for many couples. This does not necessarily mean that the couple must remain living together in the marital home. Typically, one spouse will be able to find affordable housing nearby, or stay with family or good friends until the marital home can either be sold or transferred to the remaining spouse alone.

Have you recently gone through a situation like this? If so, we’d love to hear your opinion and resolution in the comments. If you or someone you know is currently considering marital separation or divorce and needs help keeping their home, we can help.


Image credit: Ron Cogswell


One Response to Who Keeps the Marital Home: A THIRD Option

  1. Pingback: Displaced Homemakers: Getting Back on Track | Veitengruber Law

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