In many divorces, the marital home is the couple’s biggest asset and one to which they feel very emotionally attached. This is especially true when there are kids around. Because of these two things, it’s often very hard to decide whether or not to sell something. So, what should you think about when deciding how to split the house?
Buying Your Partner’s Share & Staying in the Home
Even though staying at home might be the best choice for you, in the long run, please try to make the choice without letting your feelings get in the way. Make sure you have enough money to pay for a house and everything that comes with it.
For example, you may be able to pay your mortgage and insurance every month, but will you be able to handle the other, more expensive costs that come with owning a home, like fixing a roof that leaks or buying a new air conditioning system? What must you give up if you want to keep the house? (For example, you could refinance the loan, give up your rights to your spouse’s pension, or give up your rights to other marital assets so that your spouse can get an agreed-upon share of the equity.) Take an honest look at your finances and figure out what would be best for your family and your future finances.
Continuing to Own the House Together
Sometimes, both parties agree to keep owning the house together without refinancing. This happens most often when the kids are in high school or when it would be best for them to stay in the same home and school until they finish high school. In these cases, one parent stays in the house with the kids while the other leaves.
Even though this may be a good idea, you should think about the risks and stress of still having to deal with your ex-spouse. Can you trust that your soon-to-be-ex-spouse will pay their share of the bills without you having to fight about it all the time? If you’re the one moving out, can you get another loan or lease with your credit? Do you believe that your ex-spouse will take care of the house and keep it in good shape?
Taking Care of Personal Property in a Shared Home
Whether you decide to stay or leave, you and your spouse will have to divide the things you both own that are in the house. Save money by making these decisions with your partner instead of lawyers. No one knows better than you what’s in the house and how much it’s worth to each person. Take a list of everything in your home and have each person write down the things they want to keep. Check to see what you can all agree on, and then take turns picking things from that list. Remember that the cost of hiring a lawyer to help you with this part of the split will probably be more than the value of the things in question.
Even though the decision about where to live as a married couple may seem overwhelming, taking a step back and weighing the pros and cons of your options will help you make the thoughtful, well-thought-out choice you need to start a new part of your life.
Have questions about what should happen to your house when you get a divorce? We can assist. Schedule an initial consultation with one of our very experienced family law attorneys to get answers to your questions and a clear plan for your future. Call us at (270) 201-7776 right now.