In California and other states, if a divorcing couple cannot decide who will get the house, then a judge will make that decision for them. When an agreement cannot be reached, a judge may force the two to sell the house and split the money. The split may not be equal because one spouse could have put more money into it than the other. It is costly to fight in court, so if it is possible, the best route is to agree on asset distribution without a court order.
It is becoming more common in amicable divorces for both parents to stay in the house after the divorce in order to share in raising a child. If the couple cannot live together, however, then a judge will decide who gets the house based on the best interests of the child. Usually, the home will go to the spouse who is given primary custody in order to keep the children's lives as undisturbed as possible.
If the custodial parent cannot afford the house even after spousal support and child support payments are added into their salary, then the judge will not award them the house in any situation. If it is an inheritance, the judge may likely let the inheritor have it. The house is usually a couple's main asset, but a 401(K) could have a similar value, and each spouse could be awarded one or the other.
If someone is going through a divorce and wants to keep the home, then an experienced divorce attorney could help. The attorney could advise them on property division laws, asset valuation and shared accounts. An attorney could file the necessary paperwork to begin divorce proceedings. They could represent the person in court as well as in child custody hearings.