What Happens to the Marital Home in Divorce?

Getting married is one of those events in a person’s life that marks the beginning of one era at the end of another period. Going from being a single person to being married is a tremendous change in terms of your outlook on life and your responsibilities. Instead of being responsible for only yourself, you are now in charge of your actions and responsible for looking out for another human being. Not only that, but you are expected to work with this person and to collaborate on building a life together. Of all the challenges you may face in your life, this is perhaps one of the greatest. Fortunately, this is a person that you have love and respect for and will grow to appreciate your differences.

One of those decisions you may make in your life is to purchase a home together. The decision to buy a house with your spouse is not unique. When given the opportunity, most spouses will decide to move into a home depending upon their specific circumstances. I know that many young couples wait to purchase a home until they have steady careers, begin to have children or determine where they want to live on a full-time basis. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with the decision to wait to get married until you and your spouse are ready. I think buying a house too early is a significant mistake that many people will make in their lives.

A piece of advice that has always stuck with me when purchasing a home is to imagine and remember that the house you are looking at is just another home. While you may have plans and thoughts about what to do with that house should you purchase, it can be a dangerous thing to become attached to a house during the home buying process. That level of emotional attachment to a home can lead you to spend too much money on it and even cause you to make decisions regarding its purchase that are not in your best interests. I know from experience that it can be tempting to fall in love with the house and the idea of what your family life would look like inside that home.

Once you decide to purchase a home, you and your family can build memories and add a life together in that home. What your family thinks SUV as a good life may differ from your neighbor. Still, the fact remains that you and your family have an opportunity to build memories and develop an emotional attachment to this home by remaining as an intact family and growing and growing together in the house. Opening up Christmas presents by the tree, Thanksgiving dinners prepared by mom and dad, birthday parties, and generally speaking moments together as a family all merge to create an atmosphere of togetherness and family building that generate the sort of memories and emotional attachment that we all would like to experience. With that being said, Good things like this can come to an end.

As such, we need to explore what can happen to your marital home in the event of a divorce. The trajectory has your life can change significantly as a result of getting a divorce. That doesn’t mean that your life is coming to an end, but it does mean that your life with your spouse is coming to an end. It would help if you instead focused on what it means to divide up your community estate, including your marital home, and two plans for the following stages of your life.

In today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we will discuss what it means to get a divorce and have to make decisions about how to handle your marital home as a result of your marriage ending. Whether the house remains with you, stays with your spouse, or is sold does not matter in terms of whether or not you made a good decision. However, some mistakes can be made along the way that can be harmful and would be best avoided if at all possible. Therefore, please stick with us as we continue to discuss this subject in today’s blog post. Don’t hesitate to contact our office for a free of charge consultation if you have any questions about what you have just read.

The marital home is a part of your community estate.

Texas is a community property state. Community property is the legal theory on which Texas bases its laws regarding marital property division. Community property law is based upon the idea that all property at the time of your divorce Bing is considered owned equally by you and your spouse. This does not mean that the property is owned 50% by you and 50% by your spouse. Instead, both of you are thought to possess all parts of all your property. Property purchased before your marriage belongs in the separate estate of either you or your spouse. However, the evidence must be utilized if any contention regarding whether the property belongs in your different or community estate.

When we talk about something as large and expensive as a home, there is no doubt that the importance of the asset becomes oversized in more ways than one. For one, deciding what to do with an expensive investment like your home is critical for your future and that of your spouse. It is difficult to understate what can happen if you make a mistake in either retaining or selling a home. The issues associated with selling a home are magnified in that we can see many people struggle with these decisions for years to come after divorce. You want to be sure about the decisions that you are making in terms of buying or selling a house. It just so happens that deciding on selling a home during a divorce must be done with the blessing and assistance on which you are not on good terms.

Next, there is the not insignificant detail when it decides to sell a house associated with what your family will do if you determine that selling the house is in the best interests of everyone for a long-term strategy. Customarily, either you or your spouse will move out of the family home during a divorce. Typically the parent who has the primary responsibility to raise the children during a divorce will stay in the house while the other spouse lives elsewhere. However, you can make that decision along with your spouse based on your specific circumstances. No matter what you decide to do, it is best for you to reach your decision on this together through open and honest communication. You may want to be a little uncomfortable yourself in favor of helping your children maintain some degree of normality during a difficult divorce.

One of the problematic aspects of getting a divorce that is sometimes unappreciated or underappreciated is who will take care of the home and the bills during the case. We all know that the accounts associated with your life in your home are not put on pause simply because a divorce has started. As a result, you and your spouse will have to determine with one another how you plan to divide up those responsibilities. You may decide that it is best to divide up those responsibilities based on your income or several other factors. This is largely what will be determined during the temporary orders phase of your case. Whether you all can negotiate on these subjects yourself or need to go in front of a judge in a temporary orders hearing depends upon how well you and your spouse can discuss these issues as a team. Many people find it difficult to coordinate on subjects like this with a spouse; they cannot see eye to eye on many topics.

These are just a few of the issues you need to consider regarding your marital state and the marital home. Dividing up Community property is a massive part of your divorce. You are adding onto that the responsibilities associated with a family home are critical, as well. Do you underestimate the importance of having a plan and understanding what it means to keep the family home as a single person after your divorce? Whether or not you can afford to keep the home in your name after a divorce is probably the most crucial consideration that you can pay during this time.

Whether or not to remain in the home after your divorce

The decision of whether or not to stay in the house after your divorce is as much a relation of the question as it is a financial question. Indeed, you will want to do everything you can to maintain some degree of normalcy in the lives of your children after a divorce. Therefore, I can completely understand the instinct to want to stay in the family home, especially if you are the children’s primary caregiver. Allowing the kids to wake up and sleep each day in their bed and not have to find a new place to live must be reassuring for a parent.

However, it would be best if you balanced the desire to preserve normality in your children’s lives against the need to be able to ensure that you can afford the mortgage payments, utility bills, general upkeep, and other financial costs of homeownership. A divorce typically hits folks like you had a weird juncture in their lives. It may make sense on many levels for you to rent for some time after your divorce while you regain your footing both financially and emotionally. However, it can feel like you are taking a step back by doing so. After all, going from owning your own home to renting and having a divorce to face on top of all that can be extremely disheartening. Without wanting to feel like you are moving backward in all phases of life, many people in your position feel the need to stay in a house that they genuinely cannot afford.

A straightforward consideration you need to make regarding the family home is that you will be asked to remain in the house using only your income. This means that the mortgage approved based on you and your spouse’s combined income will now need to be paid based solely on your income. Many people do not deliver this enough consideration, and you may find yourself second-guessing whether or not you can afford to stay in the house. Whether or not you can even refinance the mortgage after your divorce is a relevant question to ask.

Whether you can afford to remain in your family home after your divorce is a question that you seriously need to ask yourself. It makes no sense for you to struggle to pay a mortgage bill that was never supposed to be your sole responsibility. Trying to stretch every dollar you earn to its breaking point is a significant mistake, especially while transitioning out of married life and into single adulthood. The stress associated with living as a single adult will be exacerbated by the need to pay a mortgage that you may not be able to afford. This is all to ignore any equity benefit you and your spouse could derive from selling the home.

When it comes to deciding to sell the family home, you and your spouse check consider the specific circumstances of your children, their ages, your willingness and ability to pay a mortgage on your own, as well as your equity position in the house. When considering all these circumstances, if it appears that you are still best off signing a place, that is something that you should seriously consider. Once you decide to sell the house, you should contain that language within your final divorce decree. Being specific about the terms associated with trading the home means there will be no questions or inconsistencies in how you approach the sale.

Mistakes that can be made regarding selling the family home

If you ultimately decide to sell your home, you should be aware of some mistakes that can be made during this stage of your case. Working with an experienced Texas family law attorney can help you to avoid problems that could arise, which can negatively impact your family now and in the future. After reading the information in today’s blog post, you should remember the lessons that we have discussed anchal work with an attorney who has experience in matters related to selling family homes.

One of the significant issues that can arise if either you or your spouse agrees to remain in the house after the divorce is ensuring that the spouse who leaves home is protected if the remaining spouse cannot pay the mortgage on their own. Remember that your name will remain on the home mortgage even if you agree to leave the house as a part of your divorce. A divorce decree will not overcome a home loan by removing your name from the loan itself. This means that you would still be responsible for the loan even if you have been removed from ownership of the house. What can you do to limit your liability in this regard?

A dative trust to secure assumption is the document that the attorney should insist be signed off on by your spouse. This document ensures that you will have the ability to foreclose upon the home if you are smelly and cannot fulfill their obligations under the mortgage after the divorce is over with. It is a relatively simple document that will not altogether remove liability under the original mortgage but will at least put you in the position to come in and make overpayments on your own if your ex-spouse fails to do so. Not having this document in place by the end of your divorce set you up for a potentially terrible outcome should your ex-spouse fail to fill their obligations.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are an excellent way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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