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Options for the family home in divorce

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2022 | Divorce And Family Law Issues |

Buying a house has long been part of the American dream. Maybe you and your spouse are among those in the Lincoln area lucky enough to own your own home. But now that you are getting divorced, your dreams might have to change.

The house tends to be one of the most valuable assets involved in asset division. Valuable in more ways than one. Besides the equity you have built up in the house and its fair market value, your house contains a lot of memories. Perhaps this is the house you bought together soon after your wedding. The place you have raised your children in. Where you hosted holidays, birthdays and family get-togethers over the years.

There are three main options for what you and your ex can do about the house:

One spouse keeps the house

If you bought the home during your marriage, it is almost certainly a marital asset under Nebraska divorce law. Even if one of you bought it before the wedding, it still could have become marital property if both parties contributed to the mortgage payments and other costs.

That means you and your ex are both entitled to an equitable share of the house (or its cash equivalent). Sometimes, one spouse buys out the other’s ownership share and keeps the house in their name. It can be challenging to afford the mortgage, utilities and maintenance costs on a single income. But parents of young children sometimes find keeping the house in the family helps the kids adjust to the divorce.

Sell the house

To save on housing costs, divorcing spouses will often agree to sell the house and split the proceeds. This requires the two of you to work with a real estate agent to sell the property. You will also have to agree on a sale price.

Continue to share ownership

Sometimes, a divorcing couple agrees to continue co-owning the house. They might want to wait to sell until the children are grown or the housing market changes. Unless you continue living with your ex after divorce, this probably means one of you will move out but still be a co-owner on the deed. This can complicate getting approved for a mortgage on a new home. And if your ex ever defaults on the mortgage on the old house, the lender might come after you for repayment.

Whatever you and your spouse decide to do with the house, it should be a solution that both of you can live with financially and emotionally.

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