The answer will vary depending on many circumstances, including your chapter in life. Three common life circumstances that can impact the decision include the following.
#1: Young children
Those with young children may wish to retain the family home for as long as possible to help keep a consistent “home” atmosphere. Some choose to use the home as a permanent residence for the children, while the parents spend time there only during their designated times with the children.
Parents who choose this nesting option or to have the parent with primary custody remain within the family home are wise to include the financial side within their divorce discussions. Is there a mortgage? If so, who pays it? What happens if one party decides to sell the home? These are just a few questions to consider answering within the divorce settlement agreement.
#2: High school-aged children
Those with older children may wish to keep the home until the children finish high school and move out. The parents may then choose to sell the home. If so, it is often a good idea to discuss how to distribute the profits from the sale. Would one parent get the asset, or do both? Unfortunately, disputes about who gets the proceeds are not uncommon. You can reduce this risk by taking the time to discuss it before finalizing the divorce.
#3: No children or adult-aged children
If children are not a factor, options could include selling the home and splitting the proceeds, transferring ownership of the home to one party while the other takes similar valued assets in exchange, or another arrangement agreed to by both parties.
Open discussions can help mitigate the risk of surprises and better ensure the divorce addresses your family’s needs.