H is for Should You Keep the Home in a Divorce?

Should you Keep the House in a Divorce

Divorce can wreak havoc on both your emotions and your finances, particularly when your emotions are in overdrive. Making solid financial decisions doesn’t seem likely. Especially if throughout your marriage your spouse had all the financial control. However, this is not the time to give into negativity and fear. Instead, you must begin to take matters into your own hands and empower yourself with the knowledge you need to make decisions that will benefit your future.

One major asset that most couples share is their home and knowing whether keeping the house is in your best interest depends on various factors. Here are some considerations to ponder before you make this important decision.

  • Do you have the income and good credit needed to take over the mortgage and pay your spouse their share of the equity?
  • Can you afford the new monthly mortgage payments and upkeep on the home going forward? You will have to refinance to get the home in your name and interest rates may differ.
  • Has the home been deteriorating along with your marriage? Can you afford the necessary repairs? Buying a home that has been falling apart for years may not be in your best interest.
  • Are you prepared for the constant reminder of loss and heartache that staying in the house may induce?

If you answered NO to any of the above questions, consider reasons NOT to keep the house in divorce:

  • Accept that your income is lower after divorce and your lifestyle must change. Empower yourself and walk away from a potential financial disaster such as foreclosure and extreme debt.
  • Getting rid of emotional attachments, like the family home can help you move on to a new life and put the old one behind you.
  • What better way to start a new life with a new home of your very own, this is empowering!
  • Be a role model for your children and show them what it means to be financially Keeping a home that you can’t afford is not a good example.
  • Build on your resilience to change, life is fluid and change is constant, choose to deal with life’s disappointment using integrity and grace. Making a difficult but sound financial decision in trying times will be one of the greatest gifts you give your children.

Starting over is a process, and careful thought of your long-term plans can help prevent a painful and costly mistake. Deciding whether to sell or keep the house may be difficult, do your homework and seek professional advice to help you with all of your options.

Disclaimer: ZFA is not a realtor or attorney. We recommend you consult a trusted professional for more information before you make your final decision.

About Ann Zuraw

Ann Zuraw, the voice behind "Chicks, Chat and Change", is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™). If you have comments on this post contact Ann Zuraw

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