When couples divorce, what happens to the house?

For married couples, purchasing a home is often part of realizing the American dream. After all, not only do houses tend to appreciate over time, but they also often constitute a couple’s most valuable asset. 

In New Hampshire, divorcing spouses typically receive an equitable share of the marital estate. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse purchased your home during your marriage, it is likely a marital asset you must address during your divorce. There are a few options for doing so. 

Sell the house

Divorcing spouses often decide to sell the house and split its proceeds. If you go this route, you and your husband or wife may use any financial gains to purchase a new home. Still, if the housing market is slow or your home needs repairs, quickly selling the property may not be realistic. The same may be true if you have children. 

Keep the house

It may be possible for either you or your spouse to keep the house. Under this paradigm, the occupier of the property pays cash or gives up other assets in exchange for exclusive ownership of the home. Keeping the house may be either a short-term or a long-term strategy. That is, you may decide to keep the home temporarily and sell it later. 

Use the house as a nest

Divorcing spouses sometimes choose to occupy the home jointly. This has become increasingly common with the popularity of nesting. With nesting, you and your ex-spouse rotate in and out of the family home at the beginnings and ends of your parenting time. The kids never change residences, though. 

Because you likely have considerable control over what happens to your home, you likely want to explore all options and develop a home-related strategy early in your divorce process.