The family residence is often an asset that both spouses would like to be awarded. A court order for sale and division of proceeds is often the most practical and least expensive way of effecting an equal division of difficult-to-value assets or property which each spouse wants awarded to them. A house may be characterized as separate property or community property depending on the time the house was acquired, and the source of funds used to acquire the house or make payments towards the house. If the house is community property, it will be subject to division at dissolution.
The court can also award exclusive possession of a community property residence to one spouse and reserve the right to value and divide the residence in the future. If a couple has children, the court may award the house to the spouse with primary custody of the children to minimize disruption to the children’s lives. There are also situations where one spouse can claim “reimbursement” or credit for their separate property contributions to the community residence.
There are many other factors the court will consider when dividing property in a divorce and it is essential to consult with an experienced family property division attorney to protect your rights.