The determination about what happens to a house in a divorce or separation is one of the most difficult things to forecast in a case. Often times, if the house is marital property and, for example, the children are 21 years old or older, that house is looked at by the court as just another asset similar to a bank account. If left for the court to decide, the court is going to order that the house be put on the market and sold. If there is equity in the house, the proceeds from the sale of the house will be divided through equitable distribution between the parties like every other asset.
However, if the children are younger and they are part of a school system and involved in extracurricular activities or they have other reasons why the connection to that particular house and therefore the school district is very important to their best interest, the court might fashion an order requiring the house to be maintained. For example, they can order it stay maintained until, the youngest child turns 18 or goes to college. Then, at that time, the party occupying the house might have the opportunity to buy out the interest of the other party or, in fact, the house then may have to be put on the market and sold. There is no right of one party or the other to keep a house, if I had to make a general statement.
Robert Pollack is an experienced divorce and family law attorney in Long Island, New York. Contact The Pollack Law Firm, P.C., to set up a free initial consultation.