Real Estate and Divorce: What Happens to the Property?

Person holding divorce decree

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If you are going through the divorce process, you and your spouse will likely need to work out how to deal with your property. But what is property, and how is it divided within a couple that divorces? It’s essential to understand what will happen as you decide about your house, car, and other items part of your marital estate.

How Do the Assets Get Split Up?

Equitable (though not always equal) distribution of marital property results from a court-ordered divorce. The Equitable Distribution Law governs this. Both spouses must disclose their income and any debts they owe to the court during the divorce process.

What Does It Mean, Then, To Say That the Distribution Is Fair?

The term “equitable distribution” refers to an equally split distribution. Equitable distribution of marital property refers to the division of assets between the two spouses that the court deems to be as equal as possible. It is more common than not for a judge to rule that the property should be divided equally (50-50), but this is not a certainty.

Who owns what in a Marriage?

All property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is included in the marital estate. It doesn’t matter whose name appears on the book’s cover. Because the husband’s name was solely on the deed of a home purchased by a married couple, his wife would still be entitled to a portion of the home’s worth if they were to divorce.

If the property is purchased before the marriage, the original owner can keep it exclusive.

How Does a Judge Evaluate What Is Fair and Reasonable in the Eyes of the Law?

In a contested divorce, each party must obtain its appraisal. A duel of valuations may result, forcing a judge to rule on who will receive the property. According to the California Courts, the following factors are considered when it comes to deciding how to divide the marital assets:

  • A breakdown of the assets and earnings of each party involved in the marriage
  • If they were married for a long time
  • The couple’s age and overall health
  • The home and other marital property may be needed by the custodial parent if there are children in the marriage.
  • Inheritance and pension benefits will be lost.
  • The capacity of investments made by each spouse while they were still married (such as a housewife who gives up her work to care for her husband).

Selling of the Property

When separating from your partner, selling your home may be a great option. Depending on the terms of your divorce settlement, this can be beneficial for you and your children. In addition to being a sound financial decision, it can be helpful to your children.

Regardless of the reasons for selling your home after a divorce, it’s essential to ensure that you invest in making your property as appealing as possible. This can be by repainting your front porch, remodeling your kitchen, or fixing your roof.

Any work done to your home might help in increasing your property’s value. According to Cenvar Roofing, a Virginia roofing company, “when a seller invests in a new roof before selling the home, they are likely to recoup between 60- 70% of their investment, and are more likely to receive full-priced offers on their home.”

It’s also important to remember that selling your home after a divorce should be handled with civility and without any argument. Your attorney will help you reach a fair settlement, so you can enjoy the profit while keeping your children happy.

Do You Have the Exclusive Right to the Property?

One spouse has the exclusive right to occupy the home. The other spouse will have to find a new residence. If the court delays the home sale, the parent with custody of the children can be granted these privileges.

While the divorce is taking place, they can also protect one of the spouses. The courts can issue protection orders to keep a person from returning to their home.


Whatever the reason for divorce, property division is always a contentious matter, as you are dividing up everything you own. No doubt, your focus is on the children or the emotional and physical repercussions of your marital breakdown. But it is important to remember that everything you have accumulated together is also subject to division.