Who Keeps the House After a Divorce?

One of the most contentious issues in any high-net worth divorce is which spouse will continue to live in the marital home—or if the parties will agree to sell the property and both move to different houses.

This decision usually comes down to several different factors.

Nevada state law calls for a community distribution of assets when two people get divorced. This means divorcing spouses split all marital assets in half, with each party receiving 50 percent of the home’s equity. However, the parties can distribute shared property in an unequal way, so long as they both agree to do so.

Even with Nevada’s community property rules, it is possible for one former spouse to keep the marital home after divorce. Before making this determination, the court will look at numerous factors, including the financial situation, age, health and employability of each party. Other considerations include the contributions each spouse made to the home during the marriage, who retains custody of any minor children and the property’s value.

Many high-net worth divorce cases center on a more collaborative approach, with the parties working through a process to split marital assets in a way that makes sense for their situation. Divorcing spouses may, for example, decide that one party will assume ownership of the home to aid in the stability of any children the couple has. In return, the other spouse may receive a larger portion of other marital property, such as motor vehicles, retirement accounts and other assets of significant value.

Dividing a home’s equity in divorce

Assuming the couple owns the home together, both spouses own an equal share of the property. However, a judge may grant one party the ability to keep the house, requiring that person to buy out the other’s share or balancing out the value of the property by granting an extra share of the marital assets to the other spouse. A judge may also rule that the couple must sell the house and divide the proceedings.

Another way a court could divide a marital home is by deferring the distribution of equity in the property until a later date—for example, when all the couple’s children reach adulthood. However, one party will likely need to cover home-related costs like mortgage payments, property taxes, maintenance and homeowner’s insurance premiums.

Selling a home and splitting the proceedings

In some situations, it is difficult for divorcing spouses to come to an agreement on who should keep the marital home, or it might not make financial sense for neither to do so. If that’s the case, the two parties will need to go through the process of selling the property.

This begins by selecting a real estate agent to manage the sale—something on which the divorcing spouses will need to agree. A judge may also make this determination, if necessary. A real estate professional will make recommendations for selling the home as quickly and for the maximum amount of profit possible. Once the sale is complete, the parties would split the proceedings evenly.

Speak with a Las Vegas divorce attorney for more information

Attorney Shawn M. Goldstein is a skilled high-net worth divorce attorney who helps individuals reach sound resolutions when it comes to retaining or selling a marital home during a dissolution of marriage. Goldstein Law Ltd. proudly serves clients in Las Vegas, Summerlin, Henderson, Green Valley, and the greater Clark County area.