When couples divorce, there are many issues that they have to address. If there are minor children, they need to reach agreeable terms for child support, custody and visitation. In some families, those arrangements may be the primary source of divorce conflict.
Another common source of disagreements is the process of asset division. Both of you likely have your own strong feelings about what would be a fair way to divide your assets. If you can’t agree, the Minnesota family courts will make these decisions on your behalf.
One of the assets that gets more attention than any other in a divorce is the marital home. Even in high asset divorces, the primary residence is usually the single biggest asset acquired during marriage. A substantial amount of your family’s income likely went toward maintaining the home and building equity in the property. It’s perfectly reasonable to have strong feelings about how you want the courts to handle your home.
Minnesota courts strive for an equitable division of assets
Under Minnesota law, the primary guiding principle applied during the division of your assets should be a fair and equitable outcome. Fair and equitable does not necessarily mean halving all assets and debt acquired during your marriage. Instead, the courts will consider many aspects of your marriage — and you as an individual — when deciding what is fair.
Factors that can impact your divorce include how long you were married, your current income and employability, any special medical needs of the spouses or their dependents and the contributions of each spouse to the marriage. They will also consider child custody arrangements, which can have an impact on how they handle your marital home.
Child custody situations can influence who keeps the home
When there are minor children involved in the divorce, the courts seek to minimize the impact of the legal proceedings on them. One of the ways they may do this involves allowing the primary custodial parent to remain in the family home. This ensures the children spend most of their time in a familiar environment. It also lets them remain in the same schools.
Child support amounts, combined with individual income, could allow one parent to afford to refinance the home. In that scenario, the courts could award the home to one party, while allocating equity to the other spouse. Sometimes, instead of pulling equity out of the family home to offset the value of the property, the courts could award other valuable assets to that spouse, such as a retirement account or investment properties.
Try to remove sentimental attachment to the home
It’s all too easy to become emotional about your home, choosing to fight to retain possession because you see keeping it as a form of winning. Do your best to view your living situation and home from a practical stance. If your ex receives the home or the courts order it sold, it certainly will not be the end of the world. A new home could be the perfect place to start building a new life after a divorce.