There are several matters to address during a divorce — how to split property is one of the most important. Often, one or both spouses want to keep the marital home, which could create some contention. Many spouses wonder who gets to keep the house and how the decision is made.
If you’re wondering what may happen to your marital home, speak with your divorce attorney. A divorce attorney can review your case and provide some guidance on the matter.
How Pennsylvania Handles Property Division
State law concerning property distribution in a divorce either allows for equitable distribution or community property. Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state.
When states follow equitable distribution rules, it means property and assets are divided in a way that is fair for both parties. This requires thoroughly reviewing the spouses’ circumstances.
Additionally, only marital property is available for division. Separate property is not.
Marital vs. Nonmarital Property
Under Pennsylvania law, property in a divorce is either marital or nonmarital property.
Marital property is property the spouses obtain after entering the marriage. It could also be property acquired using marital funds, even if the property is only in one spouse’s name.
Nonmarital property, also referred to as separate property, is property each spouse has before getting married. Property and assets acquired by gift or inheritance are also considered separate property.
In Pennsylvania, only marital property is up for distribution. Nonmarital property is not typically touched, and such property is retained by the rightful spouse.
Determining What Happens to the Marital Home
When it comes to deciding what happens to the marital home, there are typically several options. The right choice depends on the spouses’ situations and desires.
One Spouse May Keep the House
In some cases, one spouse gets to keep the house. For example, if the couple has children, and the children grew up in the home, one spouse may want to keep it to provide consistency for the kids.
It’s easier for one spouse to keep the home when the other is willing to give it up. However, when both parties wish to keep the home, the decision may be up to a judge, who can decide based on the circumstances.
If one spouse keeps the home, they may need to refinance if the house was in both of their names or the other spouse’s name alone. Obtaining financing may be an obstacle, but a necessary step to keep the marital home.
The Property May Be Sold, and Profits Split
In other cases, the home may be sold, and the profits of the sale split between the spouses. This is often a sought-after option for spouses who wish to get rid of the marital home, get a fresh start, and move on.
Profits of the home sale aren’t always 50/50. When the home is sold, profits are split equitably between spouses.
Speak With a Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney for Guidance
If you’re concerned about what will happen to your marital home, discuss it with your divorce lawyer. Your attorney can address your concerns and help you reach the best possible outcome.