Sharing a house with your spouse is a natural part of marriage. Cohabitation is far more common than living separately, and married couples can often afford better housing when they work together to qualify for a mortgage. A significant amount of your income will go to mortgage payments, and you will probably spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours maintaining, repairing and upgrading your home.
If you believe that divorce is on the horizon, you made feel worried that you could lose the house in the divorce proceedings. Sometimes, you already know what will happen to your property because you and your spouse have a prenuptial agreement. Otherwise, you or a judge will make the decision about what happens with the house.
For most people thinking about divorce, their home is a marital asset that may be subject to division. What determines who keeps the house?
You and your ex can decide on your own
Even if you don’t have a prenuptial agreement talking about how to divide your property, you can still set terms for property division now without involving the courts. Either by working directly with one another, communicating through your attorneys or going through mediation, you can reach an agreement about who keeps the house and how you split up your other belongings.
If you cannot create a workable settlement, then you must go to court and ask a judge to split your property based on Ohio law.
What will a judge decide?
A judge dividing your marital property will need to think about your marital situation. Under Ohio law, the presumption at the beginning of this process is that an equal split is the right approach to dividing marital property and debts. One spouse may keep the house, but the other will receive some of its equity or other valuable assets.
However, the judge can adjust the division of property based on the circumstances of the family. Your contributions to the household, custody arrangements and even your ability to finance the house can all affect what a judge decides to do with your primary residence in a divorce.
Learning more about the rules apply in Ohio divorces is an important part of preparing for one.