Who should get the marital home?

When parties separate and begin the process of dividing their marital property, one of the assets they are likely to deal with is their marital home. In North Carolina, in a typical equitable distribution case, there are normally three options for disposing of the marital home. Those options are: 1. Distribute the home to the husband; 2. Distribute the home to the wife; or 3. Sell the home.

This may seem like a simple process; however, there are many factors that judges, attorneys and/or the parties may need to consider in deciding how the marital home should be disposed of. For example, if the house is going to be sold, then there is a possibility that the home may be on the market for sale for months or even years. In the interim, the parties must agree, or a court must determine, such things as who pays the mortgage, taxes, insurance, maintenance, and other expenses related to the home while it is on the market for sale; which party should occupy the home while it is being marketed for sale; how a realtor should be selected; how the listing and sales prices should be determined; and how the net sales proceeds should be distributed between the parties.

Given the uncertainty of the real estate market, and the difficulty in getting the parties to agree on all issues related to marketing and selling the marital home, it is generally preferable that the marital home be distributed to one of the parties rather than put on the market for sale. Of these options, distributing the marital home to one of the parties is more likely to afford closure on this issue rather than putting them in a situation that may require prolonged and possibly contentious contact.

Our family law attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience in cases that involve equitable distribution of marital property as well as other areas of family law. If you are in Asheville or Western North Carolina, please contact our office to see how we may be of assistance to you in your domestic case.

This article is for information purposes only and is not to be considered or substituted as legal advice. The information in this article is based on North Carolina state laws in effect at the time of posting.