When married couples own a home together, their primary residence will likely be a major source of disputes during their divorce negotiations. It is common for both spouses to decide that they would like to keep the marital home and to fight bitterly over retaining possession.
Before you decide that keeping the house is the most important goal for you in your divorce, there are a few considerations that require some reflection.
Do you want the house or just its value?
For many people, the desire to keep the home is more about what the property is worth than it is about the actual physical house. If your spouse is the one who keeps your marital home, you don’t walk away empty-handed.
You typically will receive your share of equity or an equivalent amount of other assets from your marital estate. If all you want is the value of the home, then asking for possession may not be the best approach in your case.
Can you maintain the property yourself?
Solitary homeownership is a real challenge. You will be the only one doing all the cleaning and maintenance. You will also be the sole source of financial HVAC system fails or the roof starts leaking.
Some people don’t have the time or ability to maintain a home on their own. Others don’t make enough to qualify for a mortgage on their own. A thorough review of your financial circumstances can help you determine if you can afford the home, and thinking about your current maintenance routine for the property can help you explore whether you would be able to own the property by yourself.
Do you have minor children?
Children should be the first consideration in your biggest divorce decision if they still live at home or require your court. If you have minor children, then the best solution for the home is often to have the parent who will have more parenting time retain possession of the home.
Doing so allows the children to stay in the same bedrooms at the same school district that they have known for years. Of course, a generalized solution isn’t always the right approach. Talking with your children about their preferences could help you make a decision about how you handle your home as well.
Thinking about the future and not just about your emotions toward your ex can help you make better choices as you prepare for your upcoming divorce.