You and your spouse bought your dream home five years ago. You love the house, but now your marriage is ending.
Is your spouse going to get to keep the home? Will you? How do you sort it out?
California is a community property state
First of all, California is a community property state. This means that the goal for the court is to take the marital property — which is most of what you own, with a few exceptions — and divide it in half. The idea is that your spouse owns 50% and so do you, so the court isn’t trying to make things “fair” or equitable. They’re just trying to make them even.
Often, what this means is that you need to sell the house. Say it’s worth $2.5 million and you own it outright. If it sells for market value, you can both simply take your $1.25 million and go your separate ways. This is the easiest way to split a home in half, so to speak.
That said, if one of you wants to keep the house, you can sometimes “trade” other assets for it. Maybe you also have investments that are worth $2.5 million. Rather than splitting up the investments and splitting up the proceeds from the home sale, you could just take the entire investment portfolio yourself and your spouse could keep the home. This is still a 50/50 split of your assets.
What do you want the outcome of your divorce to look like?
As such, it’s important to consider exactly what you want in the divorce. If you and your spouse have different goals and want different assets, it may be easier than you think to agree on how to divide them, and you can both leave the marriage feeling like you got what you were after. If you would like to learn more about the divorce process or our services, please continue reviewing the information on our website.