Navigating a Home Transfer During an Auburn Divorce
If divorcing spouses can agree on who will keep their marital home, then the divorce decree will include that decision. However, if you and your partner decide that only you will keep the home, you will typically have to compensate your spouse for their share of the property’s equity.
It is vital for you to be able to afford to maintain the property on your income alone. Further, you may have to pay your spouse for their equity in the house. There are various reasons why you might want to retain the family home. But ensure that your judgment is not overcast by emotions that run high during the tense and stressful times of a divorce.
The Court Will Evaluate these Aspects
The courts divide marital property equitably in Auburn, AL. However, equity doesn’t always imply a 50/50 division of the marital assets. There are several factors that determine how marital property is divided in a divorce.
These factors include you and your spouse’s work history, earnings, any property you or your partner obtained by yourself or themselves alone, each spouse’s physical and mental health and age, which parent has child custody, the marital home’s value, and any misconduct during the marriage. Remember that the parent with the children’s custody will usually be awarded the marital house to ensure that the children are less impacted by the ongoing divorce.
Distributive Share in the Marital Home in Auburn, AL
You and your spouse may both be awarded a share in the marital home by a judge in a process known as awarding distributive shares. In case this happens, the judge may require one party to “buy out” or pay for, the other party’s share of the marital house. Also, the judge could award a spouse exclusive possession for a certain duration and then require that spouse to sell the property by a specific date.
Exclusive possession implies that you or your spouse would remain in the marital home without the other party residing there. Stemming from that, the judge may ask the property to be sold and the proceeds to be distributed equitably. On a final note, the judge could award the house to one spouse and offset the property’s value awarded to the occupying spouse by awarding other property to compensate the party who does not get to keep the marital house.
Deferred distribution is the final way in which the marital house may be awarded. It occurs when the judge awards either of the spouses the home until an event takes place. For instance, that event could be until your youngest offspring graduates from high school. While deferred distribution is uncommon, it may occur when the property market is not seller friendly.
There are numerous possibilities of what could become of the marital home. Thus, it is challenging to predict who will get to keep the family house. It is common in Alabama for the spouse with child custody to retain the marital home. But that is not all. The factors mentioned above have a significant influence on the decision of the judge. If both spouses can agree without the judge’s involvement, they will likely experience a less stressful divorce and be more comfortable during the proceedings.
If You are Considering Fighting to Retain the Marital Home, Ensure that You can Pay for It
It would certainly be good to remain where you are comfortable and avoid the challenges of moving. Still, staying put might not always be the most beneficial financial decision for you.
Irrespective of how attached you are to your home, it is crucial to have a realistic sense of whether you can afford it. You may face serious financial challenges if you give up everything else to keep the home and then discover that you cannot afford the property taxes, maintenance, and mortgage.
In such cases, it is helpful to work with a financial advisor or speak to someone who understands financial planning to help you understand whether you will be able to cover the home’s expenses after the divorce and still meet your other monetary needs, such as saving for retirement.
Can the Marital Home Be Considered Marital Property Even If It Was Acquired before Marriage?
Yes. Even if you bought the house with your own money before you got married, it can be considered marital property for the following reasons.
Length of Marriage
If you and your spouse were married to each other for a long period of time (at least 10 years or longer) and used the house in question as your primary residence, it is likely to be considered marital property.
Spouse’s Contribution to Repair and Maintenance
If your spouse contributed (financially or otherwise) significantly to the repair and maintenance of your marital home, it is likely to be considered marital property.
Spouse’s Contribution to Home Improvement
If your spouse contributed (financially or otherwise) significantly to improve the property in question, and if the property’s value has increased as a result, it is likely to be considered marital property.
Who Gets to Reside in the Home during a Divorce?
The answer to the above question depends on what you or the courts decide. The stakes are higher whenever there is domestic abuse. In such cases, the abusive partner can be forced to stay away from the home via a restraining order. The violation of such an order could lead to an arrest. A spouse with kids will be given preference to remain in the home until the case is resolved, but not always.
Seasoned Property Division and Divorce Lawyers in Alabama
At Alsobrook Law Group, our experienced Auburn, AL divorce attorneys can help you collect evidence to appropriately represent your domestic and financial contributions to the marriage, along with evidence of any misdeeds by your spouse, to ensure you receive your fair share of the marital assets. If you are an Auburn resident involved in a contested divorce, our skilled attorneys can fight hard to ensure that your best interests are protected. Call today at (334) 737-3718 for a free consultation.