Ending a marriage can involve a lot of stress, and before it the divorce is finalized, Texas couples sometimes have to prepare for possible battles over the division of their marital assets, such as retirement and bank accounts, artwork, furnishings and automobiles. In most cases, however, the piece of marital property that is worth the most is the family home.
If the couple cannot reach an agreement regarding who keeps the house, then it comes down to a judge or arbiter. The judge will consider all the information provided, but of main concern will be the well-being of children if there are any. The court will likely award the home to the parent who is gaining primary physical custody so as not to disrupt their routines. However, this may not be the case if the custodial parent is unable to afford mortgage payments and maintenance costs. In such an event, the court may order that the house be sold and the proceeds split.
A judge will also consider how the house was obtained. If it was passed on through inheritance, or been in one spouse's family for generations, that will come into play. This could be the case even if both parties are named on the deed.
Instead of leaving this decision up to a judge, divorcing couples may instead want to have the assistance of their respective family law attorneys in negotiating an agreement that would provide for the division of the marital property, including the home. The settlement agreement can cover other topics as well, such as alimony and child support.