In many divorces, the couple's home is their biggest asset and a place they feel very emotionally connected. This is especially important when kids are around. Because of these two factors, it's often hard to decide whether or not to sell something. So, what should you think about when you're trying to decide how to split the house?
Buying your partner's share of the house and staying in it
Even if staying at home is the best choice for you, in the long run, please try not to let your feelings get in the way of your decision. Make sure you have enough money to pay for a house and its costs.
For example, you might be able to pay your mortgage and insurance every month, but will you be able to handle the other, more expensive costs of owning a home, like fixing a roof that leaks or buying a new air conditioning system? What do you have to give up in order to keep the house? (You could, for example, 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 will be best for your family and your future finances.
Keeping the house as a joint venture
Sometimes, both parties agree to keep the house in their names without refinancing. This usually happens 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 situations, one parent stays home with the kids while the other goes elsewhere.
Even though this may seem like 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 arguing about it all the time? If you are the one moving out, can you use your credit to get another loan or lease? Do you think that your ex-spouse will keep the house in good shape and take care of it?
How to Care for Your Own Things in a Shared Home
Whether you decide to stay or go, you and your spouse will have to divide the things you both own that are in the house. Instead of hiring a lawyer, you can save money by making these decisions with your partner. Nobody knows better than you what's in the house and how much it's worth to each person. Make a list of everything in your home and have each person write down what they want to keep. Check to see what you can all agree on, and then take turns picking things from the list. Remember that hiring a lawyer to help you with this part of the split will probably cost more than the things in question are worth.
Even though deciding 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 decision you need to start a new part of your life.
Need to know what should happen to your house when you get a divorce? We can help you. Set up an initial meeting with one of our very experienced family law attorneys to get answers to your questions and a clear plan for your future. Call us right away at (914) 600-7186.
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