What Happens to the Family Home After Divorce?

  •   |   Meghan Freed

For many people, what will happen to the family house after divorce is a major concern. It only makes sense — the house where you live, so in addition to the emotions, there are a lot of logistics involved.  Plus, it’s a large asset — sometimes one of the largest assets in the marriage.

Read on to learn more.

Two Main Questions About the Family House & Divorce

We have written before about the two main questions involving the family home:

  1. Who will live where during the divorce?
  2. Who will get the house post-divorce?

As a reminder, these are two separate issues in a divorce. The person who lives in the family home during the divorce isn’t necessarily the person who will keep the house following the divorce. In other words, just because one spouse lived in the house during the divorce, that doesn’t mean the same spouse is going to get the home after the divorce.

What Happens to the Family Home After Divorce?

The house is one of many items property that will be allocated between the spouses during “property division.”

Connecticut is an all property, equitable distribution state. What that means is that in a Connecticut divorce, family law courts have broad authority to award marital property like the house to either spouse, regardless of:

  • how it is titled
  • when it was acquired
  • or whether it was received as a gift or inheritance.

In other words, which means that everything that either spouse owns is fair game when it comes to dividing things up in divorce.

What Are the Options for What to Do With the Family Home?

There are two basic options when it comes to the family home.

  • One of you can keep it
  • You can sell it

Read on to learn more about how each option can play out as a practical matter.

One Spouse Keeps the House

If the two of you decide that one spouse will keep the home, it needs to be in that spouse’s name. When the person who owns the house is keeping the house, there aren’t any affirmative steps to take. But, for example, if you own the home jointly, the spouse who isn’t keeping the house will transfer his or her interest in the house into the other spouse’s name. This is often done via a quit claim deed.

Mortgage on the House

One option is that the spouse keeping the house can indemnify the other spouse with respect to the mortgage. If the spouse fails to pay the mortgage, the court’s order may require that the house be listed for sale.

Refinancing the Family Home

One option is that the spouse keeping the house refinances the mortgage so that the mortgage is in his or her name along. Another purpose of a refinance may be to get some of the equity out of the house in the form of cash.

Selling the Family Home

Sometimes the divorce order will provide that the house is sold. The court order should explain the details, for example:

  • Timing for selling the home
  • Listing price
  • Payment of related bills
  • Any improvements or repairs and who will pay for them
  • Division of proceeds
  • Handling of disputes

Sometimes one spouse may have the right to live in the house for a set period of time before the house is placed on the market. For example, this might be so that children can complete the school year, etc.

The Comprehensive Connecticut Property Division Guide

How to divide property is one of the most important issues in divorces. And, it’s one of the most confusing. There are no set formulas or rules on how property will be divided. The good news is that creates tremendous flexibility for experienced divorce attorneys to craft an individualized approach. In order to prepare to make solid and informed decisions, you need to understand how property division works. Our Comprehensive Connecticut Property Division Guide tells you everything you need to know about property division in Connecticut.

Next Steps

For more information about Connecticut divorce and family law, check out our Divorce Information and Facts. If you have questions or want to learn more about how our team of divorce attorneys can help you with your divorce or Post Judgment issue, please contact us here.

Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC