Own a Home and Getting a Divorce? Here Is What You Need to Know

Own a Home and Getting a Divorce? Here Is What You Need to Know

Embarking on a divorce when you own a home together can feel overwhelming. This concise guide offers essential insights on navigating property division, understanding legal implications, and making informed decisions. Discover what you need to know about handling your shared asset during this crucial time.

Owning a Home and Getting a Divorce: An Overview

If you are anything like most of your neighbors, the home that you are currently living in is your largest financial asset. When you made the decision to purchase your own you took on the most significant ownership interest in any one thing that you likely ever will in your entire life. Whether you live in that house until you are eighty years old, or sell it two years later, that home represents a financial commitment.

Your home often represents a significant portion of your wealth, making it crucial for you to understand its treatment in your divorce. You need to find out how to value your home and the ways to divide it early in the divorce process.

On top of all these practical concerns, you have the emotional components to a family home. Memories of your child’s first steps or a graduation party for your son are mixing with the anger and sometimes resentment associated with a difficult divorce. Separating the practical from the emotional is one of the toughest aspects of figuring out what to do with the family home in a divorce.

Spouses often battle over the fate of the home in a divorce. Knowing as much as possible about this process before your divorce begins becomes essential. Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan aims to equip you with the knowledge needed to handle your divorce effectively.

Learn as Much as Possible, as Early as Possible

Divorce brings many challenges, not least deciding the fate of your family home. Early discussions with your attorney are crucial for understanding home valuation, potential ownership outcomes, and making decisions that align with your financial interests, rather than purely emotional ties.

Having an attorney is beneficial in helping you set aside personal feelings and focusing on what’s financially feasible. Clients often express a strong desire to keep the family home. However, practical questions, like affording mortgage payments solo, need clear answers. Additionally, consider other concerns like your child’s schooling and social life realistically when making these decisions.

It’s wise to consult realtors early in the divorce process. Understanding local market trends, potential sale durations, and any unique challenges your home might face can significantly influence your decision-making. If selling, consider whether joint efforts with your spouse could enhance the home’s marketability. Alternatively, if retaining the home and refinancing is an option, start the process early to ensure qualification.

In summary, while emotional connections to the family home are understandable, it’s essential to approach its fate as a strategic, financially-informed decision.

Who Is Going to Move Out of the Family Home During the Divorce?

Most courts will award either you or your spouse exclusive use of the family home for the duration of the divorce. Most judges in Texas will hold the opinion that it is not smart for you and your spouse to continue to reside in the family home together, absent an agreement between you and your spouse to do so.

If you’ve seen the “I Love Lucy” episode where a line divides the room into “Mr.” and “Mrs.” sides, you can imagine what living together in your house might feel like. Side can picture what your house will be like if you continue to live together. Add in the component of your small children living with you and this can be a confusing and awkward decision if you choose to make it.

Should you and your spouse fail to agree on dividing the family home during the divorce, you must attend a temporary orders hearing. At this hearing, a judge will grant either you or your spouse exclusive use of the home, and the other must move out within a specified period. If the judge doesn’t award you the use of the house, you will need to find a new place to live and move your belongings out by the deadline.

How Will Your Judge Make a Decision About Who Stays and Who Goes?

Own a Home and Getting a Divorce? Here Is What You Need to Know

In Texas divorces, determining who stays in the family home lacks explicit guidelines in the Family Code. Judges often consider several factors to decide living arrangements during the divorce.

Primary Custody and Home Residency

The judge’s primary focus is often on which parent will have primary custody of the child. The aim is usually to minimize disruption for the children, favoring the residence of the custodial parent in the family home, especially in the initial months of the divorce.

Moving Out and Its Implications

If one spouse moves out early in the divorce process, it can significantly influence the judge’s decision. Rarely does a judge grant home residency during the divorce to the spouse who voluntarily left. This decision can also affect custody rulings.

Financial Feasibility
A critical aspect is whether you or your spouse can afford the mortgage payments independently. In cases where one spouse wants to retain the home, the court might order the other to provide spousal maintenance to cover the income gap affecting mortgage payments.

Additional Household Considerations
Judges also take into account other household dynamics. If other relatives (like a parent) reside in the home or if one spouse’s work is home-based, these factors can sway the decision towards the spouse who provides stability and continuity in the household.

Understanding these considerations can help you navigate the complex process of determining home residency during a Texas divorce.

When Was the House Actually Purchased?

I have written the first two-thirds of today’s blog post under the assumption that you and your spouse bought your family home together after you were married. This is not always the case, however. In some instances, you or your spouse may have purchased the home before you ever got married. In situations like this, what will the impact be on your divorce? One would think that the home would always remain with the spouse who purchased it, but that is not always the case. I am aware of some courts who have awarded exclusive use of the house during the divorce to the spouse who has no property interest in it.

Abandoning the Family Residence? Is There Such a Thing?

In divorce situations, especially among husbands, a common question is whether leaving the family home before a court order is wise. The intention is often to provide space and avoid conflict, but there’s a concern about being seen as abandoning the home and spouse.

Staying for Custody Considerations

If you’re a parent contemplating leaving the home before court or mediation, and you aim to fight for primary custody, staying is advisable. Leaving, unless due to a violent situation, is typically viewed unfavorably by judges and could significantly weaken your custody case.

Violence and Acrimony: Protecting Your Family

When domestic violence or extreme conflict is present, leaving may become necessary to shield your children from potential emotional or physical harm. In cases of past violence, seeking a protective order could be a crucial step.

Moving Out and Final Orders

Moving out doesn’t automatically disqualify you from being awarded the home in the final orders. While temporary orders often influence final decisions, this isn’t always the case. It’s essential to discuss your unique situation with your attorney to make an informed decision.

Your attorney can provide tailored advice, helping you weigh the pros and cons of staying or leaving the family home during a divorce.

Questions about your home and your divorce? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

Own a Home and Getting a Divorce? Here Is What You Need to Know

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan thank you for spending some time with us today, reading this blog post. We know that you have questions about your divorce that center around your family home and hope that the information we provided you with has been helpful. We will be back tomorrow to continue to write more about this subject.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the material that we wrote about today please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week with one of our licensed family law attorneys. The consultations are a great opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback about your particular circumstances. We take pride in representing people in our community just like you and look forward to helping you and your family.


Adobe Stock 62844981[2]If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: 16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce

  1. Who Gets the House in a Texas Divorce?
  3. Can I buy a House During My Texas Divorce?
  4. Getting the Deed to Your House After a Texas Divorce
  5. What does Insupportability or No-Fault in a Texas Divorce Mean?
  6. An Explanation of the Grounds for Divorce in Texas
  7. Is Adultery a Crime in Texas?
  8. Can I sue my spouse’s mistress in Texas?
  9. When is, Cheating Considered Adultery in a Texas Divorce?
  10. 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
  11. The Dirty Trick of Hiding Assets During Your Texas Divorce
  12. The Dirty Trick of Engaging in Spousal Starving During a Texas Divorce
  13. Know How Property and Debts are Divided, When Preparing for Your Texas Divorce
  14. How Much Will My Texas Divorce Cost?

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyer

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with ar Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.

divorce lawyer in Spring TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, TexasCypressSpringKleinHumble, KingwoodTomballThe WoodlandsHouston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris CountyMontgomery CountyLiberty County, Chambers CountyGalveston CountyBrazoria CountyFort Bend County and Waller County.

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At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, the firm wants to get to know your case before they commit to work with you. They offer all potential clients a no-obligation, free consultation where you can discuss your case under the client-attorney privilege. This means that everything you say will be kept private and the firm will respectfully advise you at no charge. You can learn more about Texas divorce law and get a good idea of how you want to proceed with your case.

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