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What to do with the marital home in the event of divorce

A complicated issue that separating couples often encounter during property division is what will happen to their marital home. As a result, in Arkansas, as well as in all of the other states where marital property is distributed equitably, the marital home often leads to some unique property division challenges. Still, it is important for separating spouses to amicably decide on what they plan to do with the marital home.

A common method of resolving the dispute over the marital home is to sell it. According to real estate agents and lawyers, the current trend is that younger people tend to want to hold onto their homes for some time, probably in an effort to preserve a stable environment, while older divorcing couples tend to want to sell the home as quickly as possible, probably because liquid cash is more important for them because they are older.

Another scenario is that one of the divorcing spouses may choose to retain the home. In such a case, separating couples are sometimes able to come to an agreement where they share the home on a temporary basis and then eventually sell it. However, in an arrangement like that, it is critical for the spouses to work out who will be responsible for the mortgage. At the same time, that exposes the home to an already volatile real estate market.

Another approach is by sharing it, which is often referred to as nesting. In that type of arrangement, the couple cohabitates. That arrangement is common when a couple does not want their children to be hurt by the divorce any more than they already have been. However, separating couples often tend to set a deadline for when that arrangement will end.

It is understandable that the dispute over the marital home can be a major one because, more often than not, it is the biggest asset that a married couple has. However, if the couple speaks with an experienced divorce attorney, they may be able to figure out a peaceful way to resolve the dispute without causing harm to themselves or to their children, who are as much as part of the divorce as the parents are.

Source: The Washington Post, “The hardest part for parting couples: What to do with the house,” Allison Klein, June 19, 2015

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