Going through a divorce in South Carolina is a complex process, which includes the distribution of marital assets. South Carolina divides marital assets on the theory of equitable distribution. This means assets are not split 50/50, and there is no guarantee of what percentage of the assets each spouse will get. A number of factors go into determining who keeps the family house during a divorce, so there is no clear yes or no answer that applies to all situations.
The House as a Marital Asset
Your family home is usually considered a marital asset, assuming it was purchased by both spouses. If the home was acquired before the marriage, or inherited, there is a chance it will be declared non-marital property. However, if the spouses lived in the inherited house for the duration of the marriage, it may be deemed marital property, even though it’s not titled in both names.
The court has the discretion to grant you the use and possession of the family home. This can be for a specified amount of time, or for the rest of your life. When specifying time, it could be until the children turn 18 and leave for college, or until you plan to remarry, or whichever takes place first. Other considerations might be which spouse has more time with the kids, or whether marital fault (like adultery) played a role. If your spouse cheated on you, the judge may be less inclined to put the innocent spouse out of the family home.
If there is no court order preventing the sale of the home during the divorce, there is a chance your spouse could sell it and have funds held in escrow until a judge issues an order on how to divide the funds.
Factors that Go into Marital Property Division
There are a number of factors that go into deciding how to divide marital property. Some of these factors include:
- How long the marriage lasted
- How old the parties were at the time of marriage and at the time of separation or divorce
- Was there any marital misconduct or fault on either side (factors like abuse or adultery)
- The property value
- Whether alimony was awarded
- Child custody
- Tax implications
- Any retirement benefits
If you’re continuing to be a stay-at-home parent, there is a chance the court will award you a larger share of the family home, along with child support and alimony in the short term. Courts generally look at what’s in the best interest for the kids and how the assets can be divided equitably.
Getting Divorced in South Carolina
As you progress through the divorce process, it’s in the best interest of everyone If both parties don’t make rash decisions on the division of marital assets. It’s important to weigh your overall financial situation and what the potential is for future earnings. It may be easier to let the house be sold and divide the proceeds, which allows you to get a new home that still enables you to remain at home with your child/children.
If you’re in the middle of a divorce and struggling to divide the marital assets, it’s good to have a knowledgeable Greenville divorce attorney on your side. Contact our legal team at the Elliott Frazier Law Firm by phone, or use the contact form on our website to schedule a consultation.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.