Divorce and the Marital Home

What happens to the marital home in a divorce?

Thirty years ago, there was a movie called War of the Roses. It starred Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner as a married couple who, in the process of a vicious divorce, tried nearly everything to get each other to leave the marital home. At one point, they even divided the marital home in half—literally–using duct tape down the middle. Happily, that isn’t the norm then or now. There are more civilized options generally taken for dividing marital property including the couple’s home.

While Pennsylvania divorce attorneys know that getting divorced can be contentious at times, it’s rare that couples in a bad divorce continue cohabiting afterwards, especially out of spite. 

Sometimes, the marital home is sold and neither party lives in it after the divorce. This may be the best option, especially if neither spouse can afford to carry the costs of the home’s mortgage, maintenance and taxes on a single income or if the couple does not have young children. 

Another alternative is that one spouse– with the financial means and desire to do so– may buy the other one out so they can stay in the house or rent it. Sometimes the couple will agree that the parent with primary physical custody of the children will remain in the house with them in order to minimize the disruption the divorce is having on their lives. That way they can avoid switching schools and maintain neighborhood friendships and familiarity in their home surroundings. They may agree to sell the home after the youngest child leaves.

When dealing with what is often the largest financial asset a couple owns, it’s beneficial to work together with each other and with the guidance of skilled divorce attorneys on the decision of what to do with the marital home.

If you are considering getting a divorce, or have been served with divorce papers, the family law experts at the Law Office of Gary R. Swavely, Jr., can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. 

From our office in Reading, Pennsylvania, we’ve been helping families in all aspects of family law for over 25 years in Berks and the surrounding counties.