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Can a judge force me to sell my house in a divorce?

We love our homes. They’re where we lay our head to rest each night, and some North Carolina homeowners have been living in their residences most their lives. For this reason, it can be frightening to think that you may have to find a new home after finalizing your divorce.

Fortunately, in most divorce cases two spouses can peacefully negotiate what they’re going to do with their residence. Some couples will sell their home and divide the proceeds. Others will buy off the other spouse’s share and keep living there. Then, when couples own two homes or have other assets of equal value to the home, they may divvy up their property in another way that allows one spouse to keep the home.

And, yes, if you and your spouse can’t decide what to do, a judge can force you to sell.

What if spouses can’t agree on who keeps the home?

Sometimes, the simplest way to solve a disagreement over the family home is to sell the property and divide the proceeds between the spouses. However, spouses should keep in mind that a judge might not split home proceeds equally. The evenness of the division may depend on whether the spouses bought the home during marriage, if one spouse owned it separately before marriage, and how much money the spouses separately put into it for mortgage payments and improvements.

Judges may also decide which spouse keeps the home based on the best interest of the children involved. Family court judges will try to protect the children from instability resulting from the divorce and may award ownership of the home to the spouse who gets primary custody – if it’s an affordable solution.

Reaching an out of court agreement is always best

Because there’s a lot of risk going into judicial proceedings, and couples will never know what a judge will decide, it’s preferable to come to an out-of-court agreement. Avoiding legal battles will save couples an enormous amount of money, time, stress – and it also allows them to keep the decision-making process under their control.

The best North Carolina family law attorneys will approach every potential asset division disagreement with a diplomatic eye toward reconciliation – while also advocating to protect your rights and achieve the fairest possible result. This way, spouses can benefit from the quickest and most cost-effective divorce possible given their situations.

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