Divorce is a challenging process, and one of the most significant aspects to consider is the division of property.
For many couples, the family home holds sentimental value and practical considerations. In Delaware, the rules for determining who gets the house during a divorce are clear-cut and based on equitable distribution.
Understanding equitable distribution
The principle of equitable distribution guides the division of property. This means the fair but not necessarily equal division of marital assets, including the family home. The court considers various factors to determine what is fair, including the spouse’s contributions and needs.
Separate and marital property
To decide who gets the house, it is important to distinguish between separate and marital property. Separate property typically includes assets acquired before the marriage, inheritances or gifts received individually. The marital property encompasses assets acquired during the marriage. The family home often falls into this category.
Contributions and economic circumstances
Courts consider each spouse’s contributions to the marriage when deciding on property distribution. This includes both financial contributions and non-financial contributions, such as homemaking or childcare. Additionally, the economic circumstances of each spouse play a role in determining who gets the house. If one spouse has a higher need for housing due to factors like custody arrangements or financial stability, they may be more favored in the property division.
Even with the state having a lower divorce rate in 2022 at 2.6 divorces per 1,000 population, dissolving a marriage is the only solution for some couples. When the divorce involves a home, understanding the elements of asset division can help couples navigate the process with clarity and a focus on achieving a fair outcome.