If you’re currently going through a divorce, you most likely have several questions, including, “Who gets to keep the house?” Read on and contact the seasoned Pennsylvania property distribution lawyers at Berman Voss to learn more. Here are some of the questions you may have:

How Does Pennsylvania Law Address Property Division in Divorce?

Pennsylvania follows equitable distribution laws in divorce cases. Contrary to common belief, equitable does not necessarily mean equal. Factors such as each spouse’s financial situation, the length of the marriage, and contributions to the marital property play critical roles. Specifically, 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 3502(a) outlines the considerations for equitable division of marital assets. Berman Voss meticulously assesses these aspects, ensuring a fair and just division for their clients.

What Determines Who Keeps the House in a Divorce?

When deciding who retains ownership of the house in a divorce, Pennsylvania courts consider multiple factors. At the heart of these considerations is the principle of equitable distribution, which aims to divide marital assets fairly, though not always equally. Some of the most important factors when determining who gets to keep the house in a divorce are as follows:

  • Children’s Welfare: The presence and needs of children from the marriage often take precedence. Courts typically weigh the impact on the children’s stability and continuity of lifestyle. If keeping the house would significantly benefit the children’s emotional, educational, and social stability, this factor might tip the scales. Berman Voss prioritizes the well-being of children in their legal strategies, advocating for solutions that serve their best interests.
  • Financial Contributions and Capability: An assessment of each spouse’s financial contributions to acquiring and maintaining the home, alongside their current and future financial capabilities, is crucial. This includes not only income but also the ability to manage mortgage payments, taxes, and upkeep.
  • Duration of the Marriage: The length of the marriage can also influence decisions about the marital home. Longer marriages might see the home as more intertwined with the marital partnership, potentially affecting its division.
  • Prenuptial Agreements and Previous Arrangements: Any prenuptial agreements or prior arrangements that specify the division of property upon divorce are significant. Berman Voss ensures that such agreements are given their due weight, respecting the foresight and intentions of the parties.
  • Each Party’s Future Living Arrangements: Consideration is given to where each spouse will live post-divorce. The ability of each party to secure suitable and comparable housing is evaluated, with an understanding that the marital home might represent more than just property to one or both parties.
  • Emotional Significance: While not a legal criterion, the emotional attachment to the home can influence negotiations and decisions.

Can Agreements Outside of Court Influence the Outcome?

Indeed, out-of-court agreements significantly impact the distribution process. Many couples opt for mediation or collaborative law to reach a mutual understanding regarding the marital home. This approach not only reduces emotional stress but also offers more control over the outcome. Berman Voss encourages such negotiations, guiding clients through drafting agreements that reflect their priorities and legal rights. Furthermore, these agreements can expedite the legal process, saving time and resources for both parties.

If you have further questions or are currently facing a divorce, please don’t hesitate to contact Berman Voss today.