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Do we have to sell the family home in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2023 | Divorce

When deciding what to do about your marital home in a divorce, there are many things to consider.  The issues of affordability, finance rates and the current real estate market are all something parties need to think about.  When dealing with the home, there are several options to consider.

The clean split option

Sometimes, the simplest option is the clean split option: sell the home and split the proceeds. This could be the best option if neither party wants the home or if neither can afford the home on their own.

There are pros and cons to seeing the home.   Pros of selling might be that parties may be able to avoids conflicts over future costs, like taxes, maintenance, repairs, etc. or that each party can get a fresh start. Cons, however, could be the reduction in profit due to selling costs or the idea of finding new housing or leaving a home that either party might love.

The buy-out option

The buy-out option is where one spouse keeps the home and buys the other out of their portion of the equity.  This can be a great option if one spouse can afford the home and the buyout, especially if parents want kids to still have the familiarity of the family home available to them.

Some difficulties that may be presented with this option could be cost.  Many times, the buy-out option requires the party keeping the home to refinance or have enough cash on hand to pay off the other spouse.  Moreover, the parties will have to agree on the value of the home, which, especially in today’s market may not be easy.


Another option for parties with children is to share, and not sell, the home.  This is called nesting. In this arrangement, parents take turns living in the family home with the children. When a party is not with the children, they find alternate housing or, in some circumstances, parties share a second apartment for when they are not in the family home.

Nesting may allow for stability for the children but it is complicated.  This requires ex-spouses to work together and theoretically share space for as long as you nest.  Usually, this is easier tolerated for a temporary period of time while the divorce is going on.


Yet another option is to rent out the family home. This may be the best option if parties cannot (or don’t want to) sell the home for any reason. It will allow them to split the income and preserve the equity, but they will still have to work together to resolve landlord responsibilities and property maintenance.

If you are interested in which option may be best for you, contact our office for a free consultation.