Like everything else in a divorce, who gets the house is a matter for negotiation. There is no rule that the spouse who keeps the children gets the house. The house is a point for bargaining just like all other aspects of the case.
In some cases, the parties agree that the house is sold and the proceeds divided immediately upon divorce. In other cases, the spouse who keeps the children will have the option to stay in the house until the last child reaches college age and then the house is sold. Some parties decide that one spouse keeps the house and the other person keeps another significant asset, such as a pension or 401K.
The point is to realize that there are many alternatives and no one way is definitive.
Ann O’Flanagan is an attorney who handles family law exclusively in Flanders, New Jersey.