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Who keeps the house in a divorce?

Divorces come in many shapes and sizes, varying greatly depending on the length of the relationship, the state where a couple resides, the assets the couple owns, and whether or not there are children in the marriage, among other things. Even in best-case scenarios, divorces are usually more complicated than the individuals seeking them might realize, and there are many potential setbacks on the road to finalizing the the dissolution of a marriage.

In almost all cases, it is wise to seek out the guidance of an experienced family law attorney who can help you and your spouse understand exactly what the divorce process looks like and how to properly prepare. Even if you fear that it is not possible to keep your divorce calm and professional, an experienced attorney can help maintain a professional approach and keep things civil.

One of the areas in which many couples regularly encounter conflict involves who should keep a marital home. For most couples who divorce, a home is the single greatest asset they possess between them, and deciding who should fairly keep it is very difficult. This is especially true since Texas is a community property state, which entails different asset division guidelines than most other states.

Do you have children?

One of the most common ways to settle the issue involves children in the marriage. If you and your spouse have children, then it is very common for the parent who receives primary custody of the children to also keep the home.

If one parent keeps the children the majority of the time, then the courts generally feel that that parent should also keep the home to best care for the children. However, this is not always possible.

Can either of you afford to keep the home?

For many couples, homeownership is only possible on two incomes. When divorce enters the picture, each individual must figure out how to live on a single income, which can make keeping the home very difficult.

While it may seem as though the person who keeps the home "wins the divorce," this may be a particularly short-lived victory if he or she cannot afford the mortgage payments, maintenance upkeep and property taxes on the home.

Also, keeping a home that you bought with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse may mean that you must refinance the mortgage in only your name. If you do not have sufficient income, or if your credit rating is insufficient, you may struggle to find a lender who will refinance your mortgage.

It is possible that the best course of action is to sell the home and agree to a fair split of the proceeds.

However you choose to address the issue, you should approach it calmly and professionally. Once you're on the other side of the divorce, the less collateral damage you bring with you, the better.

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