What happens to the family home in a Pennsylvania divorce?
When you and your spouse decide to end your marriage, you may disagree about who should keep the family home. Depending on whether you share children together or other factors, you have several options to negotiate a property division agreement that works for both parties.
Review the steps to take when dividing real estate in a Pennsylvania divorce.
Obtain a recent appraisal
If you do not have a professional valuation for your home from the past 30 days, you should get one so you can truly understand the size of this shared asset. You can also compare the current value of your home to the current balance on your mortgage to determine how much equity you have in the property. Generally, you and your spouse both own a share of the equity since Pennsylvania uses equitable division standards for property division.
Consider possible options
If you feel strongly about staying in the home, consider offering to buy out your spouse. In this case, you would pay his or her share of the equity in exchange for the property itself. You must then refinance the mortgage in your own name.
Before deciding to keep the home, make sure you can afford the payments and upkeep. If you do not have children or will have visitation rather than custody, you may want to save with a smaller home.
If neither you or your spouse plans to keep the home, you can sell the property and split the earnings evenly. With this arrangement, you may be able to use those funds to establish a separate household.