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What happens to the house when couples divorce?

The decision to end a marriage brings up many questions. Deciding how to divide the household contents may be easier than deciding what should be done with the marital home itself. There are various factors that California residents may wish to consider if this aspect of the divorce settlement is a contentious issue.

Where a house has been inherited or passed down through generations, the judge may decide that it is fairer to award the house to that spouse. If neither party can afford the upkeep and maintenance of the house on his or her own, then the judge may order the house to be sold. If one party has contributed significantly more financially toward home improvements, for example, then the judge may take this into account when deciding on how to divide the profits from the sale.

If children are involved, the judge will likely base his or her decision on what is in the children's best interest. This may be to award the house to the parent with primary custody, but it is also affected by factors such as whether the spouse can afford to keep the house. It is also likely to depend on whether there are other assets that may be awarded to the spouse to even out the balance.

Whatever the decision, it is better for California residents to reach an amicable agreement on the division of assets in divorce. As well as saving time – and potentially legal fees – it also smooths the process of planning for the future. Maintaining a positive tone in discussions allows both parties to retain control of creating a more positive future.

Source: realtor.com, "How to Keep Your Home After a Divorce", Warren Christopher Freiberg, Sep. 22, 2016

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