When Pennsylvania homeowners divorce, both might want the house. However, there are a number of reasons that one or the other might not get the home, and in some cases, neither might get it.
If a couple cannot work out what to do with the home in negotiations and must go to litigation, the judge can force them to sell the home. Not only that, but they may not necessarily split the proceeds. For example, if one person spent more money on home improvements than the other person, then that person might get a larger amount of the proceeds. Another scenario is that the judge may choose to award the house to the parent who gets primary physical custody to avoid disrupting the child's life.
The judge might weigh whether the house has been in the family of one of the spouses for a long time or if one person inherited the home. A judge might also choose to give one person the retirement account and give the other person the house. While some people may think getting the house is the best deal in this situation, it is important to keep in mind that there are costs associated with keeping the home that the retirement account does not have. Couples also have the option to negotiate an agreement between themselves.
For many divorcing couples, this is the best option, and even couples who are in conflict might be able to come to a decision about the assets and liabilities through negotiation or mediation and the assistance of their attorneys. There may be room for creative solutions that do not arise in litigation. Another option is that sometimes, a couple can come to an agreement on some aspects of property division while needing to go to court for other issues.