What Happens to the Family Home in a San Diego Divorce - Property

What Happens to the Family Home in a San Diego Divorce

Pierre Domercq Community Property Division

We are often asked what happens to the family home in a San Diego divorce?  While this can be a very contentious and complicated issue in any divorce there are generally three options for managing the family home in a divorce:

  1. Sell the Home
  2. One of the Spouse Wishes to Keep the Home After the Divorce
  3. Both Spouses Share the Home in Some Manner

One of the most common answers to what happens to the family home in a San Diego divorce is to sell the home and divide the remaining equity between the parties.  The real estate market from a seller’s point of view is very advantageous in the San Diego area right now and this allows the couple to achieve a very high selling price.  This is a clean transaction and often provides important proceeds which will help each of the former spouses to move forward after the divorce.

What happens to the family home in a San Diego divorce if one of the parties wishes to keep it?  The spouse who wishes to keep the family home must buy out the other spouse’s community property interest in the property.  This option usually requires there to be enough other community assets and/or retirement accounts.  In effect, the spouse who wishes to keep the house must “offset” their former spouse’s community share of the home’s equity with other assets or retirement account balances.

A word of caution here: while the Judge in your case can issue orders for one party to keep the house it does not relieve the non-residential spouse’s obligation on existing mortgages.  If the spouse who remains in the home fails to make mortgage payments collectors can come after the other spouse.  At best it will simply damage the credit of the non-residential spouse.  If one of the spouses wishes to keep the family home the house should be refinanced to remove the non-residential spouse from mortgage liability.

It may surprise you to learn that one of the newest ideas for what happens to the family home in a San Diego divorce is for both spouses to share ownership of the home during and after the divorce.  This may be a temporary solution or it can be part of a long-term solution to protect the children.  In some cases, the children remain in the family home at all times and the parents are actually the ones who have a small apartment and move in and out of the family home on a parenting time schedule.  In other cases the home may simply be rented or listed on VRBO or some other short or long-term rental basis.

These are complex questions which require an attorney with extensive experience and legal skill.  Protect your own interests and contact us or call 760-434-3330 to schedule an appointment for a remote or socially distanced consultation with one of our experienced Certified Family Law Specialists.