Divorcing couples fight over many different things. When it comes to property, the biggest fights tend to involve the most valuable assets. That invariably includes disagreement over who should be awarded the marital home. As with most family law matters, who gets what will depend largely on the individual circumstances of each case. Knowing what factors will affect the distribution of the marital house is the first step to making your best argument. A Greenville, SC divorce attorney can help.
Most divorce cases in South Carolina are referred to mediation. Mediation is the process by which a neutral third party, the mediator, attempts to negotiate a settlement between the parties. This is an especially eventful step when it comes to property. The goal of the mediator, and your Greenville, SC divorce attorney, is that mediation is successful and a trial unnecessary.
There are several possibilities when it comes to handling the marital home in mediation. First, you might not even want the house. For various reasons, the house is just not that important or valuable. Or, perhaps, you want the house but are willing to possibly trade it for another asset. Either of these scenarios makes it easier to negotiate a settlement where everyone is happy with who gets the house.
But it may not be as simple as both parties coming to an agreement. Even if it’s agreed who gets the house, that party must be able to afford it. Usually, marital homes have both spouses listed on the mortgage. The bank is not going to simply release one party from liability on the mortgage. That means the party who gets the house must be able to refinance it into their own name. Your Greenville, SC divorce attorney can explain how the refinance process works.
If a refinance is not possible, then the person who wants the house probably can’t keep it. At that point there are some options. The other spouse could decide to take it, which would affect distribution of the remaining marital property. This will likely require a buyout of the non-receiving spouse’s interest in the home. This arrangement, of course, depends on the receiving spouse’s ability to refinance the house.
On the other hand, the parties could agree to sell the house and split the net profits. There are many ways the profits could be split between the party, and it may not be 50/50.
If the parties do not agree at mediation what happens to the house, a judge will have to step in. The judge will use equitable distribution to decide who gets the house. Equitable distribution is a process in Greenville, SC that takes numerous statutory factors into consideration. Those factors include the relative incomes of the spouses, their ages, and whether alimony is awarded. Your divorce attorney can explain more about this process.
The judge could decide that one or the other spouse should get the marital home. To make the distribution fair (equitable), the person who does not get the home will usually receive other assets. Debts and other liabilities must also be factored in. It is better to have a Greenville, SC divorce attorney help you come to a negotiated property settlement. Otherwise, the fate of your home will be left to a judge who won’t know your situation like you do.
A couple of specific issues could tilt the issue one way or the other. The party to whom primary child custody is awarded may end up keeping the house. That’s because the judge will likely want the children to remain in the home they’re accustomed to. Or, the party who is likely to be able to qualify for the refinance may end up getting it. That’s because the judge still has to consider whether either party can even afford the home. If it becomes clear that neither can, then the judge may order the house to be sold.
We Can Help With Your Marital Home and Other Divorce Questions
Because equitable distribution takes so many different factors into account, having an experienced Greenville, SC divorce attorney is critical. You can trust Greenville Family Law. We know South Carolina’s property and divorce laws, and we can fight for a fair outcome in your case. Call us today to schedule a consultation.