depends on where you live and state /community property rules.
having been divorced in TX, here’s what I know.
TX is a community property state. joint assets get split. joint debts get split. 50/50. if one party takes/assumes more than their half, the other party has to settle up somewhere.
you don’t get to “keep her from getting it.” she already owns half. if you want to keep her half, you have to buy it from her.
we sold the house, paid off the mortgage and split the gain 50/50. she took her student loan, and a credit card for half the debt, I took credit cards for the other half of the debt. she kept her car, I kept my car. her car was paid off, my car had a loan, but was worth more, so we called it even on “net” value.
my (current) wife kept the house and the mortgage. her ex-deeded his half to her, and she refinanced into her sole name. the 401k got split, but he got more than 50% to offset her keeping the house. so, total assets got split 50/50, even though it was made up of various components.
While small differences don’t really matter, no judge is going to let one party take a majority of the assets and treat the other party unfairly, even if they both agree to it. (by the way, it doesn’t matter who the breadwinner is or whose name is on the deed or mortgage.)
Now, if one party has a job, and is the one who can afford to keep the house, then it makes sense that he should keep it. He’ll have to offer something to the wife to make up for the asset he’s keeping. If there are not enough other assets to make up for one party keeping the house, then you either have to sell it or decide in advance how to split th proceeds when you sell.
In my case, we determined the value as of the date of divorce. She lived in the house and made payments for six months until it sold. Therefore, she received more cash at sale, because she had made principal payments for six months. Any appreciation or depreciation after the divorce, we split. I was comfortable with this because a) she wasn’t living there for long and b) I trusted she wouldn’t tear the place up.
You need to be extra careful when one party keeps the house without offsetting compensation shomewhere else. This leaves the shortchanged party very vunerable because the ex- is now in control of what amounts to an investment.