Options for Keeping the Marital Home in a Divorce

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Options for Keeping the Marital Home in a Divorce
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 7/3/2023


The division of property is one of the most critical aspects of a divorce. One common concern for couples going through a divorce is the fate of the marital home. In Washington State, there are various settlement possibilities that can enable one party to keep the marital home as part of the property division. Here are some insights and factors to consider and the potential paths to securing the home in your divorce settlement.

Buying Out the Other Spouse's Interest:

One option to retain the marital home is for one spouse to buy out the other spouse's interest. In this scenario, the party wishing to keep the home would need to negotiate a fair market value for the property and compensate the other spouse for their share of equity. This could be often achieved by refinancing the mortgage and cashing out equity to pay the other spouse’s share directly.

Trading Assets of Comparable Value:

In some cases, rather than a direct cash payment, the party wishing to keep the home may choose to trade other assets of comparable value to the other spouse. This approach allows for a more balanced property division while still enabling one party to retain ownership of the marital home. It is essential to work with your attorney to determine the fair market value of the home and identify other assets that can be exchanged. Perhaps this means trading more stock, 401(k), or even another piece of real estate to make up the difference in settlement value.

Co-ownership or Deferred Sale:

Another possibility is for both spouses to agree to co-own the property temporarily or defer the sale of the home until a later date. This arrangement can be particularly beneficial when there are minor children involved, allowing them to maintain stability and continuity in their living arrangements. Co-ownership or deferred sale options should be carefully considered and drafted with the assistance of an experienced attorney to ensure clarity and protection of both parties' rights and interests.

Factors to Consider:

When considering the possibility of keeping the marital home in a property settlement, it is essential to assess the following factors:

Financial Considerations: Can you afford the mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs associated with the home on your own? Consider your income, future financial plans, and potential changes in circumstances.

Equity and Liabilities: Evaluate the current equity in the home and any outstanding mortgage or other liabilities attached to the property. These factors will play a role in determining the financial arrangements for one spouse to retain ownership.

Emotional Attachment: Assess your emotional connection to the home and whether it aligns with your long-term goals and aspirations. It is essential to balance emotional considerations with practical and financial factors when making this decision.

Retaining the marital home in a Washington State divorce settlement is a possibility that can provide stability and a sense of continuity during a challenging time. Exploring options such as buying out the other spouse's interest, trading assets, co-ownership, or creating a trust or post-divorce agreement can help achieve this goal. It is crucial to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the property division and settlement negotiations. Call the experienced family law attorneys at the law offices of Magnuson Lowell PS for a free telephone case evaluation.

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