After you have sorted through the emotional fall-out from that surprise announcement, you may be trying to understand what a divorce could mean for you and your children. One of your first questions may be: “What will happen to our marital home?”
Alternatively, you may be in a bad marriage and you may be exploring what your life might be like if you got a divorce. Since your house is one of your more valuable assets, it would be wise to start with your house in planning for your life after divorce.
You and your spouse can agree to do one of four things with your marital home in a South Carolina divorce. If you are unable to agree on what to do with your home, your family law judge will choose one of these options for you:
- Your spouse can get the marital home;
- You can get the marital home;
- Your spouse and you can continue to own the home as tenants in common, instead of joint tenants; or
- Your home could be sold and the proceeds (if any) would then be paid to each you as you agree or as your divorce judge orders.
This is one of the more complex issues in your divorce. Your decision regarding the marital home will affect every aspect of your divorce, including child custody, alimony, and the division of your marital property and debts. Depending on which option you choose and how you decide to implement your choice, your life could be substantially benefited or severely impacted in multiple ways that are not immediately apparent for many years into the future. You cannot afford to make a mistake that large. You need to protect your future.
There are many practical, legal, and tax reasons why your first choice might not be your best choice. Your decision on what happens to the marital house may affect your credit rating, taxes, ability to buy a car or another house, the well-being of your children, the possibility of a subsequent foreclosure and a large money judgment against you, and your ability to remarry or cohabit with another person in the future.
You should not make a decision on your marital home without first consulting a Mount Pleasant divorce lawyer, who has had experience with complex marital property divisions and who can explain to you the potential benefits and risks of each house option in your specific situation.
If you live in Charleston, Goose Creek, Isle of Palms, James Island, Johns Island, Moncks Corner, Mount Pleasant, Sullivan’s Island, Summerville, West Ashley, or another Low Country community, please call me now. I will be glad to answer your questions about your house and your South Carolina divorce.