Friendly, Committed And Always Working For You

Our attorneys have the skills, experience and dedication needed to help families, individuals & businesses make smart, informed legal decisions in Alabama.

Who gets to keep the home in an Alabama divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2022 | Family Law |

Where you live and what property you have in your name after a divorce will have a profound impact on your life and possibly your parenting rights. The house where you have lived with your spouse for years could become the focal point of disagreements in upcoming divorce proceedings.

Especially if you have invested a lot in upgrading the home or if both of you have an emotional attachment to the property, a disagreement about who gets to keep the house is likely to arise. What can you expect to happen with your marital home in your upcoming Alabama divorce?

Marital homes are often subject to division

The ownership records for the home and the details of what occurred during your marriage can play a big role in what happens to the house when you divorce. If one of you owned the house prior to marriage or if either of you inherited the house from family members, the courts may treat it as separate property.

However, if you have used marital property to maintain the home or if the spouse without an ownership interest has invested in the property’s upkeep and maintenance, at least part of the home’s equity may be subject to division in the divorce proceedings.

For most couples, at least part of the home’s value will be marital property. The judge will look at how much equity you have in the property, your individual economic circumstances and even custody decisions regarding your children when they decide what to do with your house. They could allow one supposed to stay there after refinancing to pay the other some of the equity and take their name off of the deed. The courts could also order the spouses to sell the home and split the proceeds.

Is staying in the home the best idea?

Under the equitable distribution rules in Alabama, you don’t need to live in the home to receive your fair share of its value. You just need to ensure that your inventory of assets is accurate, especially the valuation for your home. You can then push for a fair and reasonable division of all of your marital property, including your home equity.

If your memories at the home are now more bitter than sweet or if you don’t think your income or credit score will lead to financing for the home, then you may realize that asking for equity rather than the house itself would be the better approach. Setting realistic goals for your upcoming divorce will help you keep your focus on the big picture and prevent emotions from complicating the process.