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Who Stays in the House After a Divorce in Tulsa?

marital propertyHow the assets are divided is one of the biggest questions asked by those considering divorce in Tulsa. Often, the biggest concern is who stays in the house after the divorce. This decision is often emotionally charged, but you and your spouse may be able to come to an agreement on your own. On the other hand, if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, the court will make this decision for you.

Your House: Separate Property or Marital Property?

In Tulsa, your marital assets are broken down into two categories: separate property and marital property. Property acquired by a spouse before marriage or after permanent separation, as well as any property acquired as a gift or inheritance by either spouse, is considered separate property. Meanwhile, marital property is defined as any property that you acquire jointly or individually during the course of your marriage. Typically, only marital property is subject to division in a Tulsa divorce.

How Tulsa Courts Decide Who Gets the House

In a Tulsa divorce, property is divided based on the principle of “equitable division.” This means that property will be divided equitably based on each spouse’s contribution to marital property, and in accordance with what is in the best interest of your children.

All things being equal, if you have children, the parent who spends the most time caring for them will typically be awarded the house. If you have no children, who gets to stay in the house after a divorce in Tulsa will largely depend on whether the house is considered marital property or separate property.

If the house is considered separate property, whoever holds title to the house will retain sole ownership and be allowed by law to request that the other spouse leave the home. On the other hand, if the house is considered marital property, neither spouse has a legal right to make the other leave, unless domestic violence is involved and a court has ordered the removal of the offending party.

If you cannot come to an agreement on who stays in the house after the divorce, an Oklahoma court will make the decision for you. This could mean that the court will grant possession of the house to one party, while granting possession of other assets of equitable value to the other. Alternatively, the court may order that the house be sold and the proceeds divided amongst the two of you equitably.

How Divorcing Couples Can Deal with the House

There are generally three ways you and your spouse can deal with a house that is considered marital property:

  1. Sell the house and divide the proceeds.

  1. One spouse can take out a second mortgage and buy-out the other’s equity in the house.

  1. One spouse can grant possession of the house to the other for a specific length of time; for instance, until the last child leaves the home or until that spouse is financially self-sufficient. Afterward, one of them can buy out the other spouse’s equity or the house can be sold and the proceeds divided between them.

If you feel that you need more time to negotiate an agreement with your spouse or to seek mediation, you may request a temporary court order to determine who will remain in the house until a decision is made and your divorce is granted.

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