Splitting up property is often one of the biggest challenges during a Pennsylvania divorce. Unless spouses have a marital contract in place, they will likely disagree about what is fair and appropriate. State law requires an equitable division of assets and debts, and if couples litigate, a judge will decide what happens to their property.
Many people try to cooperate with their spouses so that they can retain control over the property division process. The goals people set during divorce often focus on specific assets. For many couples, the marital home is the most valuable resource that they own jointly. Who usually keeps the marital home after a Pennsylvania divorce?
Not everyone is in a position to keep the home
For some people, seeking to retain the marital home is not a reasonable goal during divorce. They may not have enough income to afford the monthly payments or good enough credit to qualify for a mortgage on their own. Other times, it might be a lack of physical ability due to health issues or time because of a demanding career that makes solitary homeownership an unrealistic goal.
People need to think carefully about whether owning the house is a practical goal to set or not. Their custody arrangements if they still have minor children could also be an important consideration. Child support could help someone afford their mortgage, and keeping the children in a stable environment might be a reason to seek retention of the marital home.
Some people will reach the conclusion that allowing their spouse to keep the home is the best solution. These individuals will be able to ask for their fair share of equity either as a payment from their spouse when they refinance or in the form of other assets. In rare cases, couples may agree to joint ownership of the home after divorce either because they want to fix the property up before listing it for sale or to attempt a birdnesting custody arrangement. For some families, the simplest solution for the marital home is to sell the property and have the spouses share its value.
Trying to take the emotions out of the decision-making process can help people determine whether seeking to keep the marital home is the right approach to their personal property division negotiations during a Pennsylvania divorce. When questions arise, seeking informed legal guidance is always an option.