What Happens to the Family Home in a PA Divorce Case?

December 20, 2016 / 12:00 am

There’s a perfectly good reason why so many otherwise coolheaded divorce proceedings come grinding to an angry, frustrated halt when the question of who gets the family home is raised. A home is almost always the most valuable asset any couple owns, and there’s no questioning just how important money is to two formerly married people who are about to go their own respective way.

Selling the Home and Splitting the Proceeds

Of course, not every divorcing couple in Pennsylvania decides to sell their marital home and split the proceeds. Perhaps one of the divorcing parties wants to stay in the home for sentimental reasons, and presumably has enough money to pay for the home’s upkeep and stay current on the mortgage payments.

The bottom line is that the matter of what ultimately happens to the marital home in a PA divorce case can be a tricky thing indeed. If this is a situation you’re in, we strongly recommend educating yourself on all the possible options and outcomes before making a decision you may come to regret.

A highly qualified Bucks County divorce lawyer, such as the attorneys on staff at Penglase & Benson, can explain all your options with calmness and clarity. They can also greatly improve your chances of experiencing the particular outcome you’re hoping for.

So, what can happen to the house following your divorce? Most any Bucks County divorce lawyer worth his or her salt will tell you that it depends, and that’s true. Each case has its own unique set of circumstances. Whether or not the two parties involved can come to an agreement regarding the value of the house, however, is probably one of the best indicators as to whether or not they’ll both be satisfied with the way in which their home is divided.

An Equitable Distribution State

It’s important to remember that Pennsylvania is what’s known as an “equitable distribution” state. What does mean, and how might it affect you? Essentially, this means that a wide range of factors is brought into consideration by the court when it determines how a divorcing couple’s assets should best be divided. The length of the marriage will play a role in that decision, but so too will each spouse’s ability to support him or herself after the marriage ends.

That’s just one of the many reasons it can be so difficult to say what will happen to a home during a divorce. Again … it depends. That’s also why consulting with a knowledgeable Bucks County divorce lawyer–someone who not only knows divorce law in and out, but also has professional relationships with the local courts–will save you a multitude of headaches in the long run.

The Two Main Options

If a couple does decide to sell their house and split the assets, however (that’s one of two main options, by the way), they’ll need to start by having the home professionally appraised. If both spouses don’t agree on the value the appraiser has come up with, they’re back to square one.

The other main option involves one party remaining in the home, and the other enjoying the spoils of what is known as equitable distribution. In other words, the party who doesn’t get the home will generally instead receive roughly half the home’s appraised value in other martial assets.

Divorces, as we all know, are complex matters. And it’s certainly not uncommon for one spouse to seek retribution against another at some point during the proceedings. That’s another reason why, regardless of the many conflicting emotions you’re no doubt experiencing at this very confusing time, having an honest and hard-working Bucks County divorce attorney on your side in an absolute must.

Give us a call, and let us figure out what we can do to help.