If you want to keep the house after the divorce, there are details to work out to make it possible. Staying informed about your options may help you keep your home.
As an equitable distribution state, Pennsylvania courts decide on property distribution based on a variety of factors, including marriage length, income, age and property value. The court also differentiates between marital property and separate property.
When you purchased the home
If you owned the house before your marriage, there is a chance it may be separate property. However, the portion of the equity that built up during the marriage would still be marital property unless you paid the payments from a separate account that you or your spouse did not add to during the marriage, such as a trust fund. On the other hand, if you bought the house during the marriage, it is automatically marital property and the process becomes more involved to keep it.
Why you need to evaluate finances
Whether you want to keep the home because your children grew up in it or it is your dream home, the first step is evaluating your finances to determine if you have the income to afford the home.
Assessing the value of the home is also crucial, as you may need to share half the value with your spouse after ending the marriage. In addition to being responsible for the mortgage, keep in mind you will also have related expenses, such as property tax, to consider.
How to keep the home after a divorce
When the court divides your assets, it separates the home’s value between you and your spouse. To keep the house, you need to provide half the home’s value to him or her. For example, if the home is worth $600,000, and you have a $200,000 mortgage balance, then you divide $400,000 equally between you both.
In this situation, you may refinance to take $200,000 of equity out of the home to provide your spouse’s share. However, if you have any other assets or savings with a similar value, you may be able to let your spouse keep that after the divorce, while you keep the house in exchange.