Divorce is one of those events that can shake your very reality. Everything in your life has changed and will continue to change, and you may even find yourself clinging to your marital home as a lifeline and source of stability in your new situation. You may desperately want to keep it, but should you?
This is one of those questions without a quick and easy answer. Whether or not you should hold onto the house depends on factors unique to your situation. To better guide your decision, here are some questions that you will want to ask yourself.
Why do you want to keep the home?
For many of us, home is both a refuge and a source of happy memories. Perhaps it is the place where your kids grew up and you spent the happiest years of your marriage. But is this sufficient reason to stay?
If your children are young and they will be living with you, then keeping the home can provide a reassuring sense of consistency. Perhaps your address is also close to your workplace or the children’s school, which is convenient.
Alternatively, maybe the home is a painful reminder of the marriage breakdown, for you and the kids, and you’ll be happier starting over.
There are so many considerations: practical and emotional as well as financial. Let yourself be open and willing to take an honest look at your circumstances before making a decision.
Can you afford the mortgage payments and maintenance costs?
Your current mortgage payment may not break your planned budget, but if you want to borrow money to buy out your former spouse and get their name off the mortgage, then you’ll be refinancing at today’s interest rates. Another thing to consider is how expensive regular maintenance can get. Is there room in your budget for the cost of upkeep?
Is the home a good investment for you?
There may be good financial reasons for staying or leaving. If, for example, you owe more than the property is worth, or market values are currently low in your area, then keeping the home may not be in your best interests financially. Ask a real estate agent to run a comparative market analysis on the property for you, so you can make a more informed decision.
Is the title to the home clear?
If your former spouse took care of the household finances, confirm that title to the marital home is clear. Have all the property taxes been paid on time? Are there any liens that you were never told about? You can run a title search yourself or hire a reputable company to do it for you.
As you can see, deciding what to do with the marital home requires a close examination of your own needs and circumstances. What worked for your divorced cousin or best friend may not necessarily be appropriate for you. Answering the questions above should give you some guidance and hopefully some clarity into the situation to make the right decision for you.
Divorce requires you to make a lot of important decisions. At Alexandra Geczi, PLLC, we will listen to your worries, support your goals, and advise you on which course of action is most likely to bring you the independence and peace of mind that you deserve. Whether you’re asking these questions at the beginning of the process or you’re already in the thick of it with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, we’re here to help. Fill out our online form today to request a case evaluation.