A home can be one of the more expensive assets that has to be allocated in a divorce. It is preferable that Pennsylvania residents who are undergoing a divorce are able to reach an agreement about what happens to the home. Otherwise, the judge will decide after considering a number of different factors.
The judge can require that the house be sold and that the proceeds be split between the two parties. The amount each ex-spouse receives is not guaranteed to be equal. Factors such as who invested more money in the purchase of the home or who contributed to repairs can determine what is paid.
Whether or not there are children will also affect a judge's decision regarding the home. The court will make decisions that limit the disruption in a child's life. Whichever spouse is designated as the primary caregiver and can afford the upkeep of the home may be more likely to receive the home so that the children will be able to remain in a familiar environment with the same friends and schools.
If the home was inherited by a spouse or has been a part of one spouse's family for multiple generations, the court may be more inclined to make sure it remains with that spouse, even if the names of both spouses are on the deed. A judge may also award the home to one spouse, and to the other spouse, an asset that is near in value to the home, such as a retirement account.
A judge can determine the allocation of assets of significant financial and sentimental value, such as a home, if both parties are not able to reach an agreement. A divorce attorney may negotiate on his or her client's behalf concerning property division matters.