On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Property Division on Sunday, April 3, 2016.
Your house is very likely the most valuable and significant asset you own, and many homeowners have strong emotional, physical and financial connections to their family home.
This is why it can be such a struggle to figure out what to do with it in the event of a divorce. Many former spouses choose to sell the home, divide the profits and move forward separately. Others, however, want to keep the house. If you are in the latter position, there are a few important things to consider before you go ahead and request to keep the house in your divorce.
- Can you afford the house? As noted in this Wall Street Journal article, you will likely need to refinance and make sure your home is only in your name if you choose to keep it after divorce. This means that you will have to qualify for a loan and be able to keep up with payments on your own.
- What’s best for the kids? If your children have grown up in the house, have an attachment to the neighborhood and go to school nearby, it can be very appealing to stay put after divorce. However, if the kids are grown or don’t have a strong connection with the house, it can be wise to start fresh in a new place.
- Could you be happier in a new place? Of course it can be difficult to sell your home, particularly if you still have considerable emotional attachment to it. If it seems too overwhelming to let it go, you may decide keeping it is best. On the other hand, finalizing a divorce starts a new chapter in your life; starting it in a home you pick for yourself can set the stage for making new memories.
If, after asking yourself these questions, you decide that keeping your house is not possible or preferable, you have many options when it comes time to distribute it as part of the property division process.
However, if you decide that you do want to keep it, you will need to asses how and if that will impact the distribution of your other marital assets.
In either case, it will be vital that you discuss your options and the legal steps you need to take to pursue the desired outcome with an experienced family law attorney.