Since California is a community property state, divorcing couples must divide their marital property equally. These strict regulations can lead to challenges when it comes to dividing the family home.
Each spouse often has fond memories and attachments to the house. Therefore, they are often unwilling to give it up in a divorce.
So, is it possible for one spouse to keep the house?
The family home is usually considered community property. Since spouses must divide their community property 50-50, spouses usually decide to sell the house and divide the equity equally.
However, that is not the only option. It is possible for one spouse to keep the house, but it is not often an easy task.
One spouse can buy out the family home
A spouse who wishes to keep the house can pay their soon-to-be-ex-spouse their half of the home equity to purchase the house from them. This requires several elements, including:
- Determining the correct value of the home
- Refinancing the home and mortgage
- Factoring in additional costs, such as property taxes and home insurance
All of these steps are necessary. After all, even if the couple does not sell the house, they must still ensure they divide the equity of the home equally during the divorce.
However, pause to consider your post-divorce finances
Wanting to keep the house is usually an emotional decision. However, this emotional decision also has several financial implications.
Before someone moves forward with the decision to buy out the house from the other party, they should take a moment to review their finances carefully. Divorce can do a number on one’s finances. Suddenly, an individual relies only on one income and has about half of the assets they used to. While spousal support sometimes covers a portion of the mortgage payments, individuals should not rely solely on this support after a divorce.
So, it is critical for individuals to calculate what their post-divorce finances might look like to determine whether or not they can afford to purchase and maintain the house.