Getting A Divorce: Who Gets the House?

If you are going through a divorce, you may need to decide how your marital properties and assets are divided between you and your spouse. If you are a homeowner, you may also have to decide how your home will be handled. This can be an incredibly difficult decision, especially if your home has been in your family for many years or you worked together to build your family’s dream home.

Community vs. Separate Property

In California, there are two forms of property that are considered in a divorce. Community property is owned by both spouses equally and is acquired during the marriage using marital funds. In many cases, the family home is considered community property. The other form of property is separate property, which is owned by only one spouse. Typically, this property was owned by the spouse before the marriage, but it can also include inheritances and gifts. If one spouse owned the home before the marriage, the house is separate property.

Who Gets the House in a Divorce?

It depends on who owns the house, but there are several ways to handle the division of the family home. These can be agreed upon between the spouses, or it may be decided in a court order.

Sell & Divide the Profits

If the home is community property, the simplest way to handle the home in a divorce is to sell the home to a third party and split the proceeds evenly. If neither spouse is in a financial position to own the home alone, this is often the most feasible option.


If one spouse is in a position to buy out the other, they can pay their spouse for their share of the family home. There are many costs that should be considered, including:

  • The upfront cost of the buyout
  • Property taxes
  • Maintenance expenses
  • Mortgage payments
  • Utilities

Deferred Sale

If the family including children, but neither spouse is in a position to maintain the home on their own, the decision may be made to continue to own the home jointly, until a predetermined time, at which point the home will be sold and the profits divided. Waiting to sell the home can be beneficial for families who are seeking to reduce the stress and the amount of change that their children experience during the divorce.

Divorce can be difficult, but you shouldn’t have to face it alone. At Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich, we are prepared to help you with your divorce. Our Murrieta divorce attorneys are well-versed in all areas of divorce law, including property division. We can help you navigate your divorce and gain a favorable resolution for all issues.

Contact our team today to schedule a free initial consultation.


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