For many couples facing divorce in West Virginia, their house is going to be the biggest issue. Maybe you spent a long time waiting for a home in the right school district, or perhaps you have invested countless hours of sweat equity in the home fixing it up to increase its value.
In West Virginia, equitable or fair distribution is the standard for property division proceedings. You and your ex have to either agree on a settlement or provide information about your marriage and property to the courts for a judge to split everything.
Thinking about your goals before you head to court or negotiate with your ex can help you secure a positive outcome. What might happen with your house during your West Virginia divorce?
You can ask to keep the house
Many people want to stay in the marital home, especially if they intend to assume primary caregiver responsibility for the couple’s shared children. If you want to keep the house and continue living there, then you may need to look closely at your financial circumstances to make sure you can qualify for financing. You will also need to look for other areas where you can make concessions to your ex.
Your ex could keep the house
Maybe your ex is the one who will spend more time with the children or who has a stronger attachment to your home. If you know they want to keep the house and you are okay with that, the best way to protect yourself is to make sure that you assess the property and claim your fair share of its equity in the divorce. You could also ask for other concessions, like so retention of a family business or your retirement account.
You can sell the home
Sometimes, either because neither spouse wants to live there or can afford it alone, the best option is to sell the property and to share the proceeds. Other times, couples draft contracts to allow for continued shared ownership, such as when they plan to try a birdnesting custody arrangement where the kids stay in the same house full time and the parents live there during their parenting time.
It can be hard to make a logical decision about some place that you have lived. Thinking about your five- and 10-year plans after divorce can help you make more reasonable decisions about your biggest asset. Engaging in the right preparations will lead to a less contentious and frustrating divorce process.