People are emotionally attached to their homes. It’s where they live and where their possessions and many of their memories are. Therefore, in a divorce, sometimes each spouse wants the house. But only one can get it. If the parties themselves cannot agree who gets the house, then lawyers will help them decide or a judge will decide in court. The road to an agreement starts with filling out a Property Division Balance Sheet. This sheet contains information about the value of the house, whose name it’s in, how much the mortgage payments are and who makes them. But this property division balance sheet also contains financial information about each spouse, including the furniture, jewelry, antiques and collectibles they own; their pensions and retirement; bank and credit union accounts; credit card debt; tax refunds; accounts receivable; profit-sharing; IRAs; deferred compensation; business interests; and more. The reason for asking not only about finances about the house but everything else is that since a divorce settlement aims to have each spouse get about the same amount assets and debt.
With this financial picture, lawyers and judges will try to divide all assets and debts more or less equally. If both parties contributed money to the mortgage and upkeep of the house after one spouse bought it, then they have an interest in the house. So the spouse who does not get the house may be reimbursed for mortgage payments and maintenance costs he or she paid.
To determine who gets the house, lawyers and the courts want to know the purchase date; the purchase price; amount refinanced during marriage; downpayment amount; date of marriage; date of separation; and the fair market value of the home on dates relevant to the case.
Even if one spouse or partner is not on the title, he or she may get the house if awarding it will balance out the split of overall assets and debt. Even if one person purchased the house before marriage, the second person has negotiable rights to the house if they helped make mortgage payments. Deciding who gets the house in a divorce can be complicated.