For most people, their house is their most significant asset. And in the event of a divorce, it can be one of the most contentious community assets to divide.
Often, people focus on keeping the home. They might even give up several other assets so that they can be the person who exits the divorce with a house. However, keeping a house is not always the right decision, and in some cases, it can be a financially impossible option.
The benefits of keeping your home
Staying in your home after a divorce can be particularly beneficial to people who prioritize consistency. For instance, custodial parents often want to stay in their home for their child’s sake. And people who run businesses out of their home or live in a particularly desirable area may not want to leave.
Also, staying in your home means you can avoid the stress of packing and moving, on top of the stress of divorce.
When it is not right – or possible
Despite the benefits of keeping a home, it could be best to sell your home or let your ex hold on to it.
Financial obligation can be the biggest drawback to keeping your home in a divorce. You will likely need to refinance your mortgage so that your loan is in your name alone, and you could find that you do not qualify for the same type of loan on your own.
You will also need to maintain the home and pay the bills. Consider these expenses when you are thinking about keeping your home. Can you afford to replace a water heater if yours breaks? Do you know how much your monthly utility bills are? What will your finances look like after the divorce?
It is also worth noting that while staying in a marital home can seem attractive in theory, in reality, it could be emotionally distressing. Staying there can make it difficult to put a difficult chapter behind you, whereas moving can help you make a fresh start.
The big picture
Remember that your home is just one asset and one piece of the property division puzzle. Before you make any firm decisions, take a look at the bigger picture. Work with your attorney to negotiate a property settlement that best suits you now and in the future.