Who Gets the House in a Divorce in Kentucky

Who Gets the House in a Divorce in Kentucky?

Divorce is a difficult and emotional process, and one of the most significant assets that couples often have to divide is their house. Figuring out who gets the house in a divorce in Kentucky can be a complex and contentious issue. Here is a comprehensive guide to understanding the factors that influence property division and answers to some frequently asked questions.

Kentucky is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. When it comes to the house, several factors are considered to determine who gets ownership or how it will be divided:

1. Contribution to the acquisition: Kentucky courts consider each spouse’s contribution to acquiring and improving the marital home. This includes both financial and non-financial contributions.

2. Length of the marriage: The duration of the marriage is also a significant factor. If the couple has been married for a short period, it is more likely that the house will be considered separate property and awarded to the original owner.

3. Financial circumstances: The financial situation of each spouse is crucial. If one party can afford to keep the house without causing financial hardship, they may be awarded the property.

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4. Custody of children: The court aims to provide stability for children involved in the divorce. If the custodial parent can maintain the home, it may be awarded to them to minimize disruption for the children.

5. Future financial prospects: The court looks at the future earning potential of each spouse. If one party has a higher income or better job prospects, they may be more likely to retain ownership of the house.

6. Debts and liabilities: The court also considers any outstanding debts or liabilities associated with the house. If one spouse is primarily responsible for these financial obligations, the court may award them the house to offset the burden.

7. Emotional attachment: While not a decisive factor, emotional attachment to the house can be considered by the court. However, it is generally given less weight compared to other factors.

8. Other property division: If there are other significant assets to be divided, the court may offset the value of the house by awarding other properties or assets to the other spouse.

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9. Agreement between spouses: Finally, if the spouses are able to reach an agreement on the division of assets, including the house, the court will usually honor their wishes as long as it is fair and reasonable.


1. Can I keep the house if I paid for it before the marriage?
If the house is proven to be separate property, acquired before the marriage and not co-mingled with marital assets, you may be able to keep it.

2. What happens if we co-own the house?
The court may order the sale of the property and divide the proceeds equally unless the parties can agree on a different arrangement.

3. Will the court consider my mortgage payments when determining ownership?
Yes, the court will consider mortgage payments made during the marriage as contributions to the acquisition of the house.

4. Can my spouse force me to sell the house?
In some cases, if an agreement cannot be reached, the court may order the sale of the house and divide the proceeds.

5. Can I buy out my spouse’s share of the house?
Yes, if you can afford it, you can negotiate a buyout of your spouse’s share of the house’s value.

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6. What if the house is in my name only?
The court will still consider various factors to determine if it should be divided or awarded to one spouse.

7. Can I lose the house if I have custody of the children?
No, custody of the children does not automatically guarantee ownership of the house, but it may influence the court’s decision.

8. What happens if the house is underwater (worth less than the mortgage)?
The court may still divide the negative equity, or the parties may negotiate an alternative arrangement.

9. Can we decide who gets the house without going to court?
Yes, if you and your spouse can agree on the division of assets, including the house, you can avoid going to court through negotiation or mediation.

Divorces are complex, and the division of assets, especially the marital home, can often be a contentious issue. It is crucial to consult with an experienced divorce attorney in Kentucky to guide you through the process and protect your interests.