For most couples, the family home represents the largest investment and largest asset – so what happens to it when you divorce? There are a few factors that can determine who ends up with the family home in a Texas divorce.
Texas is a community property state, so the items you’ve acquired during your marriage are owned by both partners. For most families, there is a strong emotional attachment to the home; if kids are involved, both parties (and the court) often prefer to keep the children and the primary custodial parent in the home. There are several possible outcomes for the family home:
One partner keeps the home:
If one spouse wants the home and is able to afford the mortgage payments either on their own or with assistance from the other spouse, they may be able to keep the home. The remaining spouse may be awarded other assets from the marriage so that the property is equally divided. If there are children in the home, the custodial parent, or parent with primary custody may be able to keep the home until the kids are grown, provided it is financially feasible. This is often a short term arrangement, based on what is best for the children; the home will eventually need to be refinanced in just one partner’s name or sold entirely.
One partner buys out the other:
If there are enough assets in the marriage, one partner may be able to buy out the other, compensating them for the equity in the home with other assets. The home will often need to be refinanced into the sole owner’s name.If you are the partner gaining the home in this scenario, you need to be able to eventually secure a mortgage in your own name or save up the funds to buy the home outright. If you are the partner giving up the home, you need to make sure that you are no longer on the mortgage; simply relying on your former spouse to pay the bills could be a financial disaster for you. Keeping the obligation of the mortgage without owning the actual property exposes you to too much financial liability and could damage your financial outlook and future.
The home is sold:
If neither spouse can afford the home or neither wishes to keep it, the house can be sold and any proceeds divided between the former partners. This may take a while, as the home needs to be prepared for sale, listed on the market and sold, but allows for a more even split of the proceeds.
If you are facing divorce and are concerned about what happens with your home, we can help. Contact Frank E. Mann, Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer, to learn more about your options and to get the help you need to make it through the divorce process.