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Marital Property Division

Is It Worth It to Fight for the Family Home in a Divorce?

In any divorce, there is the possibility that the property division process will be very contentious. While some couples may split amicably, many couples are still reeling from the emotions and incidents that led to the decision to divorce. Therefore, they do not want to feel short-changed when their assets are divided.

Property division issues can be especially difficult when it comes to the family home. Oftentimes one's home is among their most valuable of assets. Moreover, it may have a lot of sentimental value. While each spouse may think they should be the one to win the family home, it is important for them to decide whether doing so is really worth it and, if not, what other choices they have.

One might wish to keep the family home, but it is important to understand what this entails. After a divorce, a person will be living on their single income. Even if they are also awarded child support and spousal maintenance, there is a good chance that they may not be able to keep up with the exact lifestyle they had while they were married and living in a two-income household. Being a homeowner costs money. A home must be maintained and a mortgage, utilities and property taxes must be paid. If a person is going to fight for the family home, they should make sure they can handle these expenses on their post-divorce income.

If, after careful thought, neither party wants to keep the family home, they have the option to sell it. California is a community property state, which means that each spouse has equal ownership rights over assets obtained during the course of the marriage. Therefore, when dividing property in a divorce, in general, the goal will be to achieve a 50/50 split, as long as that is fair. So, if a couple agrees to sell their marital home, they can split the proceeds of the sale in a manner that aims to reach an even division of assets.

In the end, deciding whether to fight for the family home is important, and one should not rush into the process. It pays to think carefully about what one's financial future will look like post-divorce. A home may have a lot of sentimental value, but if owning the home post-divorce is too costly, then selling it may be an option worth considering.