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When Homeowners Divorce in Pennsylvania

May 28, 2020

The more assets a couple has acquired during their marriage, the more complicated it is for the court to divide their marital property in an equitable way. For many couples, the family home is the most valuable asset they own, and which spouse gets to keep it is a hotly contested issue. There is no universal answer about which spouse gets to keep the marital home; it depends on many factors, such as which spouse needs the home more and what other property the couple owns. Contact the family law attorneys at Iwanyshyn & Associates in Allison Park about disputes over marital property.

When One Spouse Gets the House

The court will not let one spouse keep the lion’s share of the marital property while the other one walks away with only the clothes on their back. If the divorce court awards the house to one spouse, the other spouse gets something valuable in return which might be the 401(k). For example, the court might award the house to your ex but award your bank accounts and investment accounts to you. If the house is your only truly valuable asset, the court might award it to your ex but order her to pay you a lump sum, effectively buying you out of your share to the house. Likewise, if your ex has little or no income, if she keeps the house, it will reduce the amount of alimony you would have to pay, especially if the house is already paid off.

When No One Keeps the House

Sometimes neither spouse wants to stay in the house where their marriage disintegrated, and sometimes neither spouse will budge about letting their ex keep the marital home. In those scenarios, and when the parties need cash more than they need a house, the court will order you to sell the marital home and then divide the proceeds from the sale. The court does not always divide the proceeds equally; it depends on what else the court awards to each spouse, as well as each spouse’s income. Remember that equitable doesn’t always mean equal.

If You Bought the House Before You Got Married

In general, assets that you owned before you married your spouse are separate property, but if your ex can demonstrate that you treated these assets as marital property, then he or she might be able to persuade the court to divide these assets. For example, imagine that you bought your house in 2005 with a 15-year mortgage. You married your husband in 2007, and he moved into your house. You used both of your incomes into paying the mortgage and paid it off a little bit early. When you divorce in 2020, the court may view the house as a marital asset since both spouses invested in it and benefited from it. It may ask you to pay your husband a lump sum to compensate him for his share of the house.

Iwanyshyn & Associates Helps You Keep Your Fair Share of the Marital Property

Your spouse does not have the right to force you out of the marital home without compensating you for your fair share of it. Contact Iwanyshyn & Associates in Pittsburgh about divorce cases.