Who Will Keep the Family Home in a Divorce?

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: ” Is there some property that the judge cannot divide?”


Your home is your place of comfort and it is where you relax and enjoy life. It is also probably the most expensive asset you own, which can make it an area of contention during a divorce. In North Carolina, property is to be distributed in an equitable manner when a marriage dissolves. You cannot simply split the home in half, so what will happen to it once a divorce is finalized? Even couples who are getting along often find that the home causes some disagreement between parties. An experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina can assist you in resolving disputes and help you obtain an equitable settlement distribution.


property-for-sale-Charlotte-Mooresville-Monroe-property-division-lawyer-300x227Equitable Distribution of Assets


North Carolina is not a community property state. The equitable distribution law states that any property deemed to be marital or divisible property must be distributed equitably between parties. The house is just one of the many assets that you must distribute in the divorce process. First, there must be a determination as to what is considered marital or divisible property that you own. Once this is established, the assets should be allocated in an equitable manner. Equitable distribution is not the same as equal distribution. Both parties must receive assets that are approximately the same.


What to Do With the Marital House


Generally, you have several options when it comes to the family home in a divorce. You may choose to sell the home and divide the profits, one party may buy out the other’s portion of the home, or you may keep the home for the time-being and sell it at a later date. The decision is one that will depend on a variety of factors, including how much equity you have in the home and how much the home is worth. If you have minor children growing up in the home, it may be best to allow them to remain in the home with a custodial parent until they reach maturity. When you decide how you prefer to handle the house you must include this information in the settlement so it becomes part of the divorce order.


What if One Person Owned the Home Before Marriage?


Typically, assets or property that is owned by one person before marriage is considered separate property. However, a home may be a much more complicated situation. First, you must consider the name on the property deed. If you originally owned the home but refinanced or obtained a new mortgage, both of your names may now be on the deed. Another complicating factor is an increase in the value of the home during the marriage. If both parties contributed to the mortgage or paid for improvements or upgrades, they may be entitled to at least a portion of the value of the home, even if their name was not originally on the title.


The family home can cause a great deal of stress and may be the focus of dispute in a divorce. You want to make sure that you receive your fair share of the assets and at the same time provide the best housing for your children. If you are going through a divorce, you need help from a skilled family law attorney. Get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.







The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.







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