Is The Family Home Separate Or Marital Property?

If you are like most families in Hawaii, your home may be the largest asset you own. Figuring out what to do with it in a divorce may not be simple. It helps to know that Hawaii is an equitable distribution state, which means that you must divide all assets equitably. This means fairly, but not necessarily 50-50.

Obviously, you can't cut your house in half, so you will need to come to another arrangement. However, before you start negotiating, the first thing to determine is whether the house is separate or marital property.

If you purchased the home prior to your marriage and did not put your spouse's name on the deed, it is separate property and is yours to keep. However, your spouse may still be entitled to reimbursement for contributions during the marriage such as mortgage loan payments, renovations or repairs. Any appreciation of the home's value during the marriage may also be subject to division.

If you purchased the home during the marriage, it is marital property. You could sell the house and divide the proceeds. As an alternative, you could swap assets so the overall division is equitable.

If young children live in the home, the judge may decide to allow the parent with primary custody to remain in the house until the children are grown. Thereafter, you could sell the house and divide the profits.

Our Lawyers Can Help You Determine The Best Option For You

Figuring out whether to sell the home, keep it or give it to your spouse depends on a variety of factors. Many people have a sentimental attachment to the family home, but those emotional ties will not serve you during a divorce. Before making any decisions, it would be helpful to look at the legal, financial and tax ramifications of all available options.

To make the best decision for your future financial security, you may need support. The attorneys at Coates Frey Tanimoto & Gibson could help you gather the information you need to make the decision that provides you with the best foot forward as you move into the future. For guidance and assistance with this and other divorce issues, call 808-524-4854 or complete our simple contact form to schedule a complimentary initial consultation. From our office in Honolulu, we serve clients on all islands of Hawaii, including Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and the Big Island.