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Your Marital Home: To Keep Or Sell the House In Divorce?

Deciding Where to Live During and After a Divorce

Often when someone is going through a divorce, they will tell their divorce lawyer, friends, and family that their main objective is to keep the house. A house is an expensive endeavor and the cost of living in your home is filled with expenses.

How to Keep Your House After A Divorce

You want to make sure you’re prepared to own the home if you decide to keep it. Look at your expenses to decide whether or not to sell your home. Some of these expenses can be projected, such as your mortgage and utilities.

Other expenses can be unknown. These costs might be a new roof or septic system. There are also property taxes to pay, insurance, and perhaps even a home equity line.

When we explore the reasons why we can’t let something go, it comes down to only two things. One of them is an attachment to the past. The other is a fear of the future.

What to Do with the House In A Divorce?

Often, divorcing couples feel attached to what the house represented. They have this attachment because they are afraid of the future. It seems more natural to stay put, deal with the bills, and keep the house during your divorce.  This plan might work until you begin drowning in all of the debt.

Whether or not you keep the house should be one of the last decisions you make. At the beginning of your divorce you don’t have enough information to determine if it makes smart financial sense. Keeping the house is entirely possible, but you should be basing your decision on a careful evaluation.

Can You Afford to Keep The House After A Divorce?

First, you must know what you have coming in by way of income, child support, and spousal support. Then you must know what your expenses in-depth look like. You will also want to check your credit score.

Once you have the numbers locked down, you can determine whether your house is affordable or you’re going to be house poor post-divorce. Keep in mind; you are looking at your numbers as they will be post-divorce. You should be doing this long term analysis when you have the other figures in place. 

Run the Numbers and Analyze Your Finances

You want to consider your support. You also want to find out what portion of the debt you will be taking on, if any. Then you can at least make a good-faith guess as to what those numbers might look like.

Many people make decisions about real estate first. Then they try to fit everything else into that one decision. Whether or not you keep your house should be one of the last choices you make. As it relates to your finances, you need to project your future expenses, income, and debt. Otherwise, it will be nearly impossible to examine its affordability.

Examine Why You Feel the Need to Keep the House

If you insist on keeping the house, ask yourself if you are holding on to the past. Are you afraid of the future? Does the hassle of moving feel like too much? Do you think your kids will want to spend more time with you if you keep the house? Do you feel like it’s a win that will solve your legal issues if you get it because your spouse wants it too?

Selling The House When You Divorce

Make sure you are honest with yourself. Think about how you answer these questions. Don’t be afraid to call up a real estate agent and search for a new home.

Remember, a new home can be a new adventure, ready for you to make new memories. A house is just the structure. A home is the warmth you bring into it.

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