Upon filing divorce, a major point of contention is often the marital home. Questions arise about who will keep the home, if either party decides to, what each party is responsible for, and what the other party might receive to divide assets in a fair manner.
Many people are surprised to learn that just because one party’s name is on the deed does not mean that person automatically receives the home. Instead, multiple factors determine the outcome of “Who gets to keep the house?”
What Is Considered a Marital Home?
A marital home is any property acquired during the marriage. This is property that had either been shared with the spouse, even if it started as one party’s individual home, or one in which they both benefited from. If you have a marital home at the time of the divorce, your lawyer will counsel you through the steps to take to get the outcome you want.
Non-marital property is property that had been given to one party as a gift or as inheritance from somebody outside of the marriage, even if it took place during the length of the marriage. This can become marital property, however, if the spouse’s name had been added to the deed.
In addition, a separate home acquired prior to the marriage and only used by one party is considered non-marital property.
If parties signed a prenuptial agreement or other written contract before the marriage, the home will also remain non-marital property.
South Carolina is one of many states that abides by equitable division. This means that if the parties cannot reach an agreement on their own about the marital property, a judge will hear both sides and use certain factors to determine an equitable division of the property.
If you are preparing for divorce proceedings, try to work with your former spouse to determine a written agreement for the division of property so you are able to avoid a court hearing.
Factors In Dividing Property
To be as fair and equitable as possible, a family court judge will consider many factors that include:
- Both monetary and non-monetary contributions
- The length of the marriage
- The income of each spouse or their earning potential
- The health of each spouse
- Alimony payments
- Any debts acquired during the marriage
- Any fault of either party
- Child custody agreements, including child support arrangements
- Value of the property including its appreciation
Non-monetary contributions to the home play as big a role as monetary contributions. For instance, contributing as a stay-at-home parent will be taken into account.
Division of a marital home is never a cookie-cutter process. Every individual situation will help determine the outcome. For that reason, working with a family law attorney is essential. Reach out to our team of compassionate experts here.