Since California is a community property state, marital assets are supposed to be divided equally unless the parties agree to some other sort of division. But complications can arise when you’re dealing with major assets that are difficult to split, such as a business or the family home. In these instances, you and your spouse’s disagreements might come to a head as you each fight to retain what may appear to be the biggest asset in play in your divorce.
But before you fight tooth and nail to keep your family home, you need to thoroughly assess your options. That way you know that you’re making a fully informed decision that is right for you in both the short- and the long-term. So, let’s dive in and see which directions you can go with this issue.
Your options for dealing with the family home
You have several ways that you can resolve a dispute over the family residence. Here are some of them:
- Negotiate keeping the home: If you really want to retain the family residence because of its financial or sentimental value, or both, then you’ll have to find a way to obtain your spouse’s half of it. This may include buying it outright, which can be quite costly, or using other marital assets as bargaining chips. Just make sure that you have a full understanding of what keeping the family home is going to look like, since you’ll be solely responsible for the mortgage and upkeep even though you’ll only be relying on your sole income.
- Use the home to secure other assets: If you’re not attached to the family home, then you might be able to use the residence to your advantage during negotiations. Here, you may be able to press your spouse to essentially buy you out of your interest in the home, either through cash or other assets. This is a great opportunity to secure assets that are better for your long-term financial stability.
- Sell the home to someone else: If neither you nor your spouse want to keep the family home, then you might be better off selling it to a third-party. Then, you and your spouse can split the profits from the sale, thereby providing you with some immediate financial relief as you start your post-divorce life.
- Use the home as a rental property: Another option is to continue to own the property with your spouse and convert it into a rental property. This way you continue to build equity while securing additional income from the residence. Just remember that this will require you and your spouse to be in regular contact about rental rates and home maintenance.
There may be other ways that you can deal with the family home in your divorce. For example, you and your spouse can continue to jointly own the home with one spouse living there and paying rent to the other spouse. Don’t be afraid to get creative here.
Develop a sound legal strategy to address your property division issues
There are a lot of matters that you’ll have to address as you navigate your divorce, especially as they pertain to property division. If you don’t handle these matters properly, then you could be at a financial disadvantage as you move into the next chapter of your life.
You don’t want that to happen, which is why you might want to think about having a legal ally on your side who can help you craft the legal arguments that you need to be successful in these matters.