Who gets to keep the marital home after an Indiana divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2023 | Property Division

Many couples buy a house together after getting married or upgrade from rental arrangements to homeownership when they decide to have children. Quite a few married couples across Indiana share an ownership interest in the residence where they live together.

Homeowners contribute a significant portion of their weekly income toward their mortgage and other housing-related expenses. They also likely devote a significant amount of their time to household maintenance and repairs. Even when couples have sizable portfolios and retirement savings, the home where they live could still be the most valuable asset that they share. As a result of these investments, the matter of “who gets to keep the house” can quickly become contentious during divorce.

Property division is unique in every case

There is no certainty about how the courts will handle major assets and financial obligations in an Indiana divorce unless spouses pursue uncontested proceedings. Judges have a lot of options when trying to find an equitable way of separating the marital property between spouses.

Either spouse could keep the home, or in some cases neither will. A judge can order the sale of the property just as easily as they can allow one spouse to live there. Factors including whether someone owned the home prior to marriage, their parenting arrangements and their personal financial ability to maintain the home can all influence what a judge believes would be reasonable and fair.

Some people believe that if they temporarily leave the home during a divorce to minimize conflict, that will mean they will give up possession. Thankfully, that is not always the case. A judge could decide in their favor if they want to move back into the home, or they could reach an agreement with their spouse that allows them to regain possession.

Uncontested solutions are often the best

When people feel very strongly about preserving certain assets, they have the option of cooperating with their spouses to reach an agreement that both believe is appropriate. Spouses can decide for themselves who will keep the house and how they will compensate the other for a fair share of its equity.

The most important thing to remember is that even if someone doesn’t keep the house, they will usually receive some of its financial value in the form of other assets or equity. Addressing the most valuable assets first can often be a smart move for those preparing for divorce in Indiana, as doing so can help to pave the way for a process that compensates for whatever way those assets are divided so that both spouses receive their fair share of their marital estate.

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