The marital home is often the most valuable asset and the source of strong feelings during a divorce. This holds especially true if there are young people involved. Due to these two factors, deciding whether or not to sell can be very challenging. So, what do you need to know about dividing the family home?
Remaining in the House After Buying Out Your Spouse's Share
Though remaining at home may be the best option, you should make your choice as objectively as possible. Before buying a home, you should evaluate your financial situation to ensure you can afford the monthly payments and other costs.
Consider whether or not you have the financial wherewithal to deal with the larger-scale expenses that come with home ownership, such as fixing a leaky roof or installing a new air conditioner, in addition to your monthly mortgage and insurance payments.
What sacrifices will you need to make to keep the house? (i.e., refinance the loan, give up your claim on your spouse’s pension, or give up other marital assets in exchange for your spouse receiving a certain percentage of the equity). Evaluate your current situation and long-term goals concerning money and family.
Living in the Marital Home as Co-Owners
Sometimes the parties agree to keep living in the house as joint owners without getting a mortgage. This is most common when the parties’ children are in high school, and it is in their best interests to continue living with and attending the same family. Some divorces require one parent to stay home with the kids while the other parent leaves.
Although this may be an option, it’s essential to consider the difficulties and risks of maintaining contact with your ex-spouse. Can you expect your soon-to-be ex-spouse to pay their fair share of the bills without causing constant tension? Whoever is leaving must consider whether or not they will be able to obtain a new loan or lease because of their current credit standing. Do you have faith in your ex-ability spouse to keep up with the upkeep of the home?
Disposal of Separate Property in the Marital Residence
Whether you decide to stay in the house or move out, you and your spouse will have to divide up your shared belongings. If you want to save money, discussing these matters with your partner instead of hiring lawyers is best. You, more than anyone else, are an expert on the home’s contents and their value to both parties.
Each person should list the belongings in the house they want to keep as part of the divorce settlement. Determine what you both agree on, and then take turns selecting from that list. It’s important to remember that the cost of involving a lawyer in this part of the split will likely outweigh the value of the items at issue.
You can rest assured that you are making the kind of thoughtful, calculated decision necessary to properly prepare you to start a new chapter in your life if you take a step back and weigh the pros and cons of your options before making the marital home decision.
If you need help understanding how to proceed and what your rights are, contact us today.