Who Gets the House?

man signing document, woman pointing to line while holding a tiny house

The decision to get a divorce will immediately prompt several questions. One of the most pressing will be who gets to keep your home in Los Angeles? Oftentimes, divorce proceedings are viewed as competitions where there is one clear-cut winner and conversely, a loser. Yet decisions handed out in divorce settlements are regulated by the law rather than a couple's attempts to deprive the other of properties and privileges. 

In the case of your marital home, the law is fairly clear; according to Section 760 of the California Family Code, if you and your spouse purchased it while married, it is community property, and thus subject to equitable division. So how are you to financially share a home with your ex-spouse after having jointly decided to not physically share it? You actually may have a few options. 

The first is often viewed to be the simplest: Sell the home and split the proceeds from the transaction equally. This is typically the recommended course of action if you and your spouse do not share children and can thus easily relocate. What if, however, you have kids who have established roots in the local community? 

If you and your kids want to remain in the home, you could attempt to negotiate with your ex-spouse to agree to give you full ownership of the home in exchange for relinquishing your claim to other marital assets. You could also attempt to buy his or her ownership stake in the home. If neither of these options will work for you, then you could ask for a deferred sale. This is a court order that mandates that you both continue to own the home (and pay the mortgage on it) for a set period of time. After that time period expires, you then sell the home. 

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