Over the past year, you have probably spent much of your time at home. You probably shared meals at the table with family or friends. You may have worked from your home office. Your living room may have been your child’s study space. Your home is probably one of the most valuable pieces of property that you own, and you have built a wide variety of memories there.

However, in a divorce your house could be one of the most contentious aspects of property division. What happens to your home in your divorce?

Is your home marital property?

The first question to answer when determining the fate of your house is whether your home is marital property. In North Carolina, the court views most of the money and possessions that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage as jointly owned, and this may include your house if it was purchased after your wedding. The court may also consider your house marital property if you paid for the mortgage with a joint account.

Is it possible to keep your family home?

It is possible for you or your spouse to keep your family home, but you will have to consider this decision carefully. In order to maintain ownership of your home, you may need to sacrifice a significant amount of your savings or other valuable assets in order for the division of your property to be “equitable” in the eyes of the court.

What happens if you sell your house during the divorce?

Some couples choose to sell their house and divide the proceeds during property division. While this may seem more financially straightforward, selling your home on a tight deadline can be a challenge depending on the housing market in your area.

If the court views your family home as marital property, much of what happens to your house depends on the specifics of your life and your finances. With careful thought, it is possible to create a strategy that protects the things that you value most and gives you a stronger financial foundation for life after the end of your marriage.