When you bought your home with your spouse, you probably never thought about what would happen in the event of a divorce. Most couples picture themselves living out their lives together in the same home or at least moving together to the next place when the time is right. People don’t generally buy a home with someone they don’t picture a future with.

Unfortunately, life has a way of messing with our intentions. Whether you simply grew apart from your spouse, or something major, like an affair, led to your divorce, now you have to figure out what to do with your home.

Unless you have a prenuptial agreement on record, chances are good the house will be a major point of contention in the asset division process for your divorce. After all, your house is probably the most expensive thing you purchased during your marriage. If you both want the house, things can get complicated quickly.

Dividing your equity in a home is not always a simple matter

If you don’t agree on who gets to keep the home, that can lead to a protracted divorce. A variety of factors can influence how the courts look at your home. For example, if your spouse has temporary custody of your children and stayed in the family home, the courts may be more likely to allow him or her to remain there after the divorce.

If there are no children, the courts will look at tenancy as well as finances when making a decision. Sometimes, neither spouse has the ability to maintain the mortgage without a co-signer. Even if you can make the current mortgage payments, you may not be able to afford what they increased to after you cash out half of the equity.

If you are serious about keeping the house, you need to look carefully at your financial situation and prepare to prove to the courts that you have the ability to maintain the home on your own.

Equitable division usually applies to your home, too

When you go through a divorce, the courts in Ohio will do everything in their power to split your assets equitably between you and your spouse. You should each receive a fair portion of your marital assets. That doesn’t inherently mean equal. Instead, the courts will look at factors like the length of your marriage and your earning potential when deciding how to divide your possessions.

In the case of your home, there are multiple ways to potentially handle the division process. The courts may allocate the home to one spouse and order that a portion of the equity go to the other spouse. Other times, they could allow you to maintain the equity in the home and instead assign other valuable assets to the spouse not receiving the home.

Sometimes, in cases with bad credit, low income or other factors like a home whose mortgage exceeds its market value, the courts may order you to sell the house. It is possible to request that the courts consider allocating the home to you, but you should also prepare yourself for the possibility that you will have to sell the house or move out for your spouse to take possession.