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Rombro & Manley LLP

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What will happen to the family home in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2024 | Property Division

A married couple’s family home, like other property, is subject to California’s community property laws.

In practice, this means that in most divorce cases, each spouse will be entitled to half the equity in their home, assuming they acquired the home together.

What can vary widely from case to case is how a court will actually make sure each spouse get their share of the equity. Usually, continuing joint ownership and use of the property is not the best option, although in theory that is a possibility even after divorce.

Those in Manhattan Beach and the other coastal communities in Los Angeles County will have to decide for themselves what their best interest is when it comes to their family home.

You should think twice before assuming it is best to fight for the family home

A person’s first instinct may be to try to fight to keep their family home. However, this is not always the best option in the long term. A person should ask several questions before trying to hang on to their residence.

  • Will I be able to afford the taxes and the upkeep? Keep in mind that after a divorce, your household income may drop since you and your spouse will not combine paychecks.
  • Am I going to be able to handle the mortgage payments?
  • On a related point, am I in a financial position to refinance if I am required to do so?
  • Am I prepared to trade off other property or otherwise buy out my spouse’s share in the equity?
  • How much do I expect the home to appreciate over time?
  • Will our children be able to stay in the home if I give it up? How important is it to the children that they stay in the family home?
  • What are my other housing options if I must move out?
  • Is it going to cost more time and legal expense if I fight to keep the house?

Ultimately, the decision about what to do about one’s family home in a divorce is one about which someone should think carefully after understanding their legal alternatives.