Navigating a divorce can be a particularly stressful chapter in a person’s life and can lead to many more questions and uncertainties as to what comes next. One of the big questions divorcing couples navigate is the question of dividing property up between the two parties, and in particular what happens with the marital home. We’re here with some advice from a local divorce attorney in Sugarland, TX on who gets the house after a divorce.
Ask a Divorce Attorney in Sugarland, TX: Who Gets the House After a Divorce?
What Happens to Property After a Divorce?
During divorce proceedings, one of the biggest questions that will arise is the question of what to do with the property owned by the couple that is separating. This property can include many things: furniture, vehicles, other belongings, and (often, most importantly) the house that the married couple lived in.
While the specific procedure will differ based on each couple’s situation, what is common to all divorces is that the couple’s property will be distributed. The most common way that this will happen is according to the Equitable Distribution Law, during which the court will decide on a fair way of distributing belongings and property between the two parties. The first step in this process is usually figuring out what is separate property and what is marital property.
Separate Property vs. Marital Property
When it comes to distributing property during a divorce, only that which is considered “marital” or “shared” property will be distributed according to the Equitable Distribution Law, so a first step is deciding what that includes! This means first figuring out what is the “separate” property of each individual. Separate property is usually property that one of the spouses owned before marriage, as well as personal gifts and inheritances.
Marital property, on the other hand, is all property that the married couple bought together, regardless of whose name is on the title. For the most part, the marital home that the couple was living in will be considered marital property, and so both parties will be entitled to some value of that home when the property is equitably distributed.
Equitable vs. Equal Distribution: What’s the Difference?
Speaking of equitable distribution, it’s a good idea to clarify what exactly that means, and how it differs from simply distributing a divorcing couple’s shared property equally. Whereas equal distribution would simply mean splitting the value of all of a couple’s marital property down the middle or splitting up all the property 50/50, equitable distribution is the process of dividing a divorcing couple’s property fairly, taking into consideration each spouse’s situation.
Equitable distribution is the court’s attempt at dividing marital property between the two divorcing partners as fairly as possible. To do so, they have to take into account a lot of the specifics of each person’s situation in terms of finances, lifestyle, and many other factors.
How Does the Court Decide What Is Equitable?
While the court is helping the divorcing couple to equitably divvy up their marital property, there are a lot of factors that the court is going to have to take into consideration. Some of the factors that they may take into consideration on this issue include income disparities between spouses, each individual’s relative fault in the marriage ending, as well as each individual’s separate estate, physical condition, age, education, needs, financial condition, and more.
As you can guess, this is often a complex process, requiring a lot of negotiation and the navigating of a lot of complex issues, circumstances, and needs. This is a large part of the reason why many individuals, even in relatively amicable divorce proceedings, choose to hire a divorce attorney to help them navigate the process. Luckily, there are plenty of options for trustworthy, experienced divorce attorneys in Sugar Land, TX to help out.
In the End: Who Gets the House?
This leaves the question of who gets the house during divorce proceedings pretty open-ended! In general, though, according to the Equitable Distribution Law, both parties can rest assured that there will be an attempt made on the court’s part to find a solution to the task of dividing up a couple’s assets and property that will aim to do justice to both parties.
Some examples of how this may actually look in divorce proceedings would be situations in which one partner is ordered to buy out the other partner’s interest in a home and refinance it, or the court may offset the value of the home by awarding other property and possessions to the partner not keeping the home. Other times a couple may decide to sell the home and split the earnings from that.
Divorces, like relationships, are incredibly personal and unique situations. Finding a one-size-fits-all answer for a question like “who gets the house?” is generally not going to be possible ahead of time, and without knowing all of the details of a couple’s relationship and situation. A little knowledge goes a long way, though, and understanding the general process and goals of the court when navigating divorce proceedings can help you feel better prepared!