What to do with the home during a divorce

When a married couple gets divorced, there is more to it than just both parties calling it quits and going their separate ways. That is because there is usually more at stake. The issues usually include children and splitting up the marital assets. While custody of the children is something that can and will be continually addressed until the children reach the age of majority, the splitting up of assets (also known as Equitable Distribution) sometimes becomes an issue that needs immediate attention. For the majority of divorcing couples, the biggest asset that the marriage will have is the marital home. A lot of times, one party or another wants to stay in the house temporarily and sometimes the parties want to sell the house to get the money they have in equity so they can take the next step in their lives. The biggest pitfall to avoid is not paying the mortgage and allowing the house to fall into foreclosure.

When the marital home becomes an issue in divorce, it can be handled through a variety of courses. If one party wants to stay, they can attempt to buy the other out and refinance in their name alone. Issues arise when the staying party’s earning power and creditworthiness does not allow them to refinance. When that happens, or if the parties just want to sell, they need to work together to sell the home in a cost-efficient manner that will also maximize their value.

When one party wants to keep the marital home and another does not want it, the potential exists for one party to simply pay the other their portion of equity and then wrap up the transaction by having the other party’s name removed from the mortgage or deed. However, this is not always so simple. Like discussed above, the bank holding the mortgage may not feel comfortable with only one person’s obligation to pay the mortgage moving forward due to their credit, earning capacity, etc.

Another option that is sometimes appropriate when one or neither party can agree on how to deal with the marital home is requesting assistance from the Courts. However, this entails legal fees to pay attorneys and sometimes does not move fast enough for the parties’ liking, particularly when a foreclosure is looming.

Unfortunately, in some divorces, the parties cannot see eye-to-eye on just about anything. Nevertheless, it is important for the parties to take a deep breath and look at the bigger picture. For a marital home that has significant equity, it will benefit both of the parties to cooperate in the sale. This includes being present for meetings with realtors and taking an active role, when necessary, in showing the house to potential buyers. When a marriage breaks up, one of the eventual outcomes is the separation and disentanglement each person’s finances as well. However, this cannot fully happen until the big-ticket items in the marriage are split up.

Fear not my potential divorcees, there is a solution. At LaMonaca Law, we only do family law and we have great experience in just this issue. We also have many contacts with real estate agents that specifically deal with the sale of the marital home during and after divorce. If you are thinking about a divorce and there are financial issues (including a home) that need to be dealt with, call us. We know the process and have the resources and experience to see you through to the end.


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To schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys or for further information, call us at the Law Offices of Gregory P. LaMonaca, P.C., at (610) 892-3877


About the author

About Alicia Fastman

Alicia Fastman graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, then went on to complete her Juris Doctorate at the Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, DE. Alicia graduated from law school with pro bono distinction, completed a Certificate in Criminal Law, and focused her intensive studies within the fields of litigation and trial advocacy. Alicia joined LaMonaca Law in April of 2011 and is a Partner at the firm. She was selected as a Top Lawyer in Main Line Magazine in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019 in the areas of Family Law and Divorce and has been named as a Best Lawyer in the areas of Adoption and Trial in the Delaware County Daily Times. Alicia is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, and is a member of the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Delaware County Bar Associations. Alicia resides in Delaware County with her dog, Leonard. In her time outside of the courtroom or office, she enjoys creating art, listening to podcasts, and spending time with friends and family.