Purchasing real estate is often a decades-long commitment. The average house will require a 30-year mortgage for someone to pay it off in full. In some ways, a mortgage is a longer-term commitment than a marriage because you can’t just remove your spouse from the document. You would have to sell the property or refinance it.

Many times, couples facing divorce must decide if one of them will keep the family house or if they want to sell it and split the value. However, there is a third option that could work for some families which involves former spouses maintaining joint ownership of the property even after the divorce.

Why do some couples choose to own property together after a divorce?

They may view it as a business investment or source of income

Your family home or any investment properties that you purchased with your spouse could, in theory, provide both of you with some degree of rental income after your divorce. Working together isn’t always the best option for former spouses, but it can work for some people.

If you both think that retaining and renting the property is the option, carefully creating terms for the joint ownership and eventual sale of the property can protect both of you. 

They may not want to take a loss on the immediate sale of the home

Housing markets fluctuate, and you can’t necessarily divorce when your home value is at its peak. Issues like a recent crime in the neighborhood, work in progress on the street or a house nearby, or even a low-scale, local economic downturn caused by a company closing could all impact the selling price of your home.

Some spouses may decide to jointly retain ownership and share the expenses of maintaining the property until the local market rebounds to a certain point, at which time they can sell the property and split the proceeds as agreed upon in their divorce decree.

They may want to let their children stay in the same home

There’s little question that moving back and forth between houses is one of the most disruptive parts of shared custody for children. In a birdnesting arrangement, the parents maintain independent housing and live with the children in the family home during their parenting time. Other times, it may be possible to add on to the house or renovate a portion of it to allow both parents to have separate units in the marital home for ongoing, joint cohabitation.

Creating unique solutions for unusual assets and concerns is one of the more challenging parts of getting a divorce. The right help can go a long way toward helping you achieve success when you dissolve your marriage.