What will the court do with a jointly owned house in a divorce?

What will the court do wi…
Click Image to Play Video

In many divorce cases, the most valuable asset may be the marital home. Even when the home is not the most valuable item of property from a monetary standpoint, there may be significant emotional attachment to the house.

Particularly where minor children are involved, it may be important to maintain stability by allowing the primary custodial parent to stay in the home, at least for a period of time, so that the children don’t have to adapt to multiple new residences.

Depending on the jurisdiction, the court may have the authority to permit one party to remain in the house for a period of time. In that instance, the court may also be able to allocate the costs of the house, either by ordering one or both parties to contribute toward the mortgage, or by awarding alimony or child support.

The court may also have the authority to transfer ownership of a jointly owned house from one party to the other. That will typically require the court to determine the value of the house, and the equity in the property after considering any liens such as a mortgage. If the court orders the house transferred from one party to the other, it can require that a payment be made by the party receiving the house, and it can require that the recipient of the house refinance or otherwise obtain a release of any mortgage for the benefit of the other party.

Yet another option, depending on the circumstances of the case, is for the court to simply order the sale of the house and a division of the proceeds.

If your divorce case involves jointly owned real property, be sure to ask your lawyer what options are available to you.