Who Gets the House in a Divorce? Some Couples Give it to the Kids

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia. In most divorce proceedings, couples need to decide how they’ll divide assets and property. One of the bigger decisions involves who will get the house. The Jones Law Firm, a family law attorney in Alexandria, Virginia understands that deciding who gets the house can become one of the most hotly debated and contested issues in a divorce. After all, the family home is where a family makes its beloved memories, spends holidays, and watches the children grow up.

Some couples who have the resources and the ability are choosing to share the family home—essentially allowing the kids to reside permanently there, while the parents alternate weeks and weekends in the home. It’s an interesting answer to the perennial child custody question of where children will reside and which parent will get the children. In this arrangement, children get the house, parents generally share custody, and parents maintain separate homes outside the family home. In some situations, especially where money is tight, both partners may share the rental of a separate apartment, using the apartment when they are not with their kids in the family home.

It’s a unique and creative solution to a problem that can be difficult to resolve, even with the help of the best of family law attorneys.  Yet, does it work?

The practice, referred to as “nesting” by the Wall Street Journal, is seen by some as offering children stability during an already challenging time. Yet, some therapists caution that the practice can make it more challenging for ex-spouses to build new and separate lives at a time where it is crucial to do so. Couples who can make and set sound ground rules and who have the collaborative will to make it work can sometimes succeed at the arrangement. But, individuals considering nesting should think about how they’ll handle dating, how they’ll manage the house hand-over (setting specific times can help), and how they’ll protect their privacy. Divorcing individuals should also consider issues about cleanliness. Who will stock the house? Who will clean it?

According to therapists, children can handle many diverse kinds of post-divorce arrangements. Yet, when parents continue to fight and experience conflict, even after the divorce is finalized, this can cause ongoing harm.

Most divorcing couples either sell the family home, or one spouse buys out the other and takes over the mortgage. When making decisions about dividing property, NerdWallet suggests getting two appraisals if you’re considering a buyout. Individuals should also consider the tax burden they’ll face should they keep the house. Finally, you may need to be realistic about whether you can afford to keep the house. In some cases, divorcing couples may be better off selling and downsizing. Sometimes a house that has gained value can provide both parties the cash on hand they may need to start over.

At the end of any marriage, who gets the house is a personal decision and each divorcing couple’s solution will be different. This is why it is wise to speak to a qualified family law attorney if you are considering getting divorced. The Jones Law Firm in Alexandria, Virginia can help you answer some of the tough legal questions and issues that arise with divorce.

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