4 Questions You Need To Answer If You Want To Keep The Family Home After Divorce
Whether you're in an apartment, condo, townhouse or single family house, the idea of leaving your family home after divorce can feel overwhelming and scary.
Maybe your life is firmly rooted in the area, or your kids go to in school nearby, or your job is close by -- whatever the reason is you want to stay put, you'll want to answer these 4 questions to help determining if you'll be able to keep the family home after a divorce:
What are the steps to keep your house in a divorce?
The most important thing you can do in order to figure out if you can keep your house after divorce is to have a clear understanding of your financial realities. Knowing how much money you have coming in every month, and going out, is critical in order to assess what your post-divorce life finances will look like. (Want step-by-step guide? Check out Divide & Thrive's digital Divorce Planner.)
What should the divorcing partners consider when deciding who gets the house?
Is the proposed deal equitable? Will children benefit from this agreement? Are both parties clear on the terms? Will there be any residual issues that tie you together after the agreement is made? What will maintenance costs be?
Is a verbal agreement of terms enough?
If you propose buying your soon-to-be-ex out of their share of the family home, make sure all the terms are in writing so that neither party feels misled or misunderstood in negotiations. Having a piece of paper between you that details the terms and conditions you both agreed to goes a long way to protect each party when memory fades. That information can either be included in your divorce judgment, a stand alone email between the two of you or a part of a separation agreement.
What questions should I ask to determine if I should keep the home or give it up?
The two big questions you need to ask yourself are:
Can you afford all of the expenses associated with the home on your own? Mortgage, property taxes, insurance, repairs, etc.
If you sell the property down the line, what will your tax exposure be? If the property has gained a lot equity since the initial purchase you could face paying a higher capital gains tax if you sell. The last thing you'll want is to be hit with a bill that wipes out whatever equity you've built up.
And one last thought...
Going from a two income family to one is a big change so having all of your financial ducks in a row is vital so you make smart choices. Taking time to think through the financial ramifications of keeping your family home will go a long way to create the financially sustainable post-divorce life you're working to build.
If you want more information about financial considerations to make, check out Overlooked Expenses To Consider When Planning For A Divorce.
Divorce is hard. Divide & Thrive makes planning for one easy.