What happens to the house in a divorce?

Property division is, and will likely always be, one of the most contentious and stressful parts of getting a divorce. You must figure out how you want to split every single asset, including your home.

It is important to understand your rights and to know what may lie ahead depending on how well you and your ex-spouse can cooperate.


Forbes dissects the complex topic of dividing a house after divorce. During the pending stage of a divorce, you may engage in nesting if you cannot actively participate in cooperative co-parenting. This will allow you to continue providing children with a source of stability by allowing both parents continued use of the family home. Instead of sending children from one parent’s home to the other, parents will move into the home for the duration of their parenting time and then leave when it is the other parent’s turn. This also helps children adjust to the concept of separate parenting time.

Selling or refinancing

After the divorce, you may want to either sell or refinance your house. If neither of you wishes to keep the house, you can sell it. Either both parties (you and your ex-spouse) or the court will determine who will pay any expenses to fix minor issues or make upgrades to the home. You must then decide the division of the equity after the home’s sale if there is equity, or decide how to divide payments if there is a deficiency.

If one party wants to remain in the home, they can buy out the other party’s interest: this is refinancing. By paying the other party’s equity, it also removes them from the ownership of the home.