You have a lot of fond memories in your home. If you go through a divorce, you probably wonder about your chances of keeping it.
Pennsylvania courts consider several grounds for divorce. These include fault, mutual consent and irretrievable breakdown. Continue reading for a brief primer on the chances of keeping your home and if the fight is worth it.
1. What if you moved out first?
You might have a concern that moving out affects your chances of winning the house in a trial. According to Penn. Stat.Ch. 23 Sec. 3301(c)(1), ninety days after the divorce complaint is served, each party (but is not required to) sign an Affidavit of Consent agreeing that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Once that occurs, if there is no agreement as to how property will be divided, and after gathering information on the assets, which can occur during the ninety day period, one of the party’s may move forward with property division. There are several ways this can occur, including attempting to force the sale of the home, depending on the circumstances. If one party will not sign the Affidavit of Consent, then after one year of separation, a party may move the case forward to property division. There are any number of things that can slow or speed this process and it will depend on your specific case and facts. The court will not punish a spouse if they moved out of the house unless they determine you maliciously deserted the family. If the court rules the divorce as no-fault, your behavior or living situation should not come into play in deciding who gets the house.
2. Can you afford to keep it?
Though you may be able to win the house, you need to consider if you can afford to. If you pay the mortgage by yourself, you might have a good case for arguing to keep it. However, many couples rely on two sources of income to make house payments and other expenses. Even if you think you deserve the house, take inventory of your finances before committing legal resources to fight for the property.
Pennsylvania courts consider several factors before they divide marital property. Houses are a complicated marital asset, and you need a strong argument for why you deserve to keep yours.