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What to do with the house after separation

What can a couple do with a house when separated? If the separation is by mutual agreement, they both have to decide. If the break is through litigation, it will all depend on whether there are children involved and on the judicial decision.

The separation is not amicable

In this second case, the law is quite clear. The use and enjoyment of the dwelling are awarded to the spouse who gets custody of the children, thus ensuring that children remain in the family home. In that case, the partner who got custody cannot be forced to proceed with the sale of the home, so that the liquidation of the conjugal partnership (or at least of the family home) should be performed once the children are financially independent, unless it is done by mutual agreement.

The separation by mutual agreement

The couple is free to reach agreements as they deem appropriate.

You should carefully study all the possibilities before making a decision:
- The house where one has lived is often considered more than a blessing, because the feelings also play a role. However, it sounds harsh to say you should keep a cool head and let the numbers speak. Do not think only of the monthly mortgage payment, but also about insurance, repairs, maintenance, property taxes, utilities and other expenses.
- Sell the house to a third party. It is the best formula to get fresh money for both partners. It's about starting a new life with the best possible economic base. Once you are clear on the price of the house, subtract the expenses generated by its sale and the amount of mortgage credit, if any. What remains is divided by two.
- Sell the house to the former. The most logical thing is to agree on the selling price and the buyer to pay half. You can also make an assessment of the furniture and the other belongings that remain in the house and subtract the price of housing.

Did you buy the house before getting married?

In this case, if you want to sell once you have moved on to separation and if there is agreement of marriage, the operation should not result in any impairment. If it is a contentious separation you are dealing with, the judge always gives the use and enjoyment of the dwelling to the parent who is left with the children, regardless of who the owner of the house is. This situation continues until the children reach their economic independence. Until then, the homeowner cannot claim it.

Who pays the mortgage?

The judge may impose the burden of paying the mortgage to 50% and make it an obligation of both spouses. It may happen that the father leaves home and has to keep paying the mortgage. In that case, the time needed to sell the house, for example, will also have a share in the appreciation of the housing when the children are old enough.

Income tax deduction for house purchases

For you and the person you've recently separated from to be able to still enjoy the discount for the purchase of the residence, it is necessary that the house remains the main residence of both after the separation. In other words the two should go on residing in the same house despite having broken the marriage bond.

This is only possible when the separation is done (without having spoken to a judge) and it also involves a deal of goodwill between the partners of the couple: "you both live under the same roof, but each one minds their own life".

Another option is that it legally remains your primary residence and one of two lives in another apartment. This can be considered an illegal practice that requires silence and complicity from the other partner’s side.

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