Who gets the family home after a couple’s separation?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2022 | Family Law

When a couple decides to separate, dividing property and assets is a concern. The emotional challenges are already difficult and working through who gets the house makes things more stressful.

Any decisions regarding the marital home could occur through the court system or by the separating couple prior to any official divorce proceedings. There are legal rights to the property that factor into making these decisions.

Decisions during separation

Marriage provides the basis for an equitable division of a couple’s assets. Though the couple’s bank account is an aspect of the relationship division, the marital home is another. Having one’s name on the mortgage does not guarantee sole possession of the home, as a spouse is still entitled to a share by contributing to the bills. A spouse is not required to leave the home unless ordered by the court. If separation is already in place, the spouse who chose to leave the residence still has ownership rights.

Factors affecting property division

Should more than one property exist, each spouse may receive one of the homes or other arrangements are made for equitable trade. When children are a factor, the primary caregiver often receives the home. The court will try to minimize harm to any children involved, with some judgments allowing the caregiver and children to remain in the home until a future date when a buyout must take place. There are cases when the home is put up for sale and the proceeds split equally.

The separation of a non-married couple makes things more complex. The rights to the family home exist through both law and ownership documentation.