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Who Gets The House? Rules On Asset Distribution In A Divorce

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Are you going through a divorce and wondering about who will stay in the family home? Here are some of the things that affect who gets the house in a divorce.

Child Welfare

A lot of times, the custodial parent is going to end up getting the house. If there is a shared custody arrangement, divorce lawyers still might work according to who's considered the primary caregiver for the children.

There is the common idea that children shouldn't have to move, since it can compound their emotional trauma from a divorce situation. That's why divorce lawyers and judges work to keep children in the family home, and that will affect which party ends up with the house.

Fit Parenting

By the same token, if a parent is found to be unfit in any way, it can really jeopardize their access to the home and other assets. This extends to the overall domestic fitness situations, where a domestic abuse charge can work against the party, but it also extends to things like being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and whether one of the divorcing spouses is better with his or her finances.

Ability to Pay

Other judgments on who is keeping the house will involve the ability to pay. If one party is much more able to afford the mortgage, that party will probably get the house. Where a couple has bought a house that maxes out their housing affordability, the judge might actually rule that they must sell the family house because it's too great of a financial burden. All of this helps to ensure that the lender's interest in the property isn't compromised, and that the house doesn't end up in default and foreclosure down the road.


In order to make proceedings fair, a judge might work out an arrangement where the person who is keeping the home has to give the other party half of the value of that property in cash. This is one way to sort through the very delicate issue of home ownership, when the two halves of the mortgage-holding party are separating their finances. (See this guide from Nolo.)

Divorce lawyers, like those at Kalamarides & Lambert, can help their clients understand all of the details about who will get a house, vehicles, stocks, and common assets after a divorce. These legal professionals work according to federal, state and local law as well as case precedent to counsel their clients on all of their legal rights and options.