If you have opted to divorce, this decision will – at least temporarily – affect virtually every aspect of life, including the real estate you own. One of the primary assets you’ll have to deal with when you divorce, if you are a homeowner, is your marital home. This decision isn’t always easy, but it can’t be ignored.
For some, the desire to keep their marital home is an emotional decision. Your emotions should only “rule the day” if you know you can afford the house and all its expenses. It may behoove you to consider all the options for the marital home before you set your heart on keeping it if your financial situation isn’t rock solid.
Buyout through refinance
If you want to keep the home, you’ll have to get it refinanced in your name so your ex isn’t responsible for the mortgage. The downside to this arrangement is that you must buy out your ex’s part of the home. This is sometimes achieved via cash payments, but it may also be possible to relinquish other assets to balance your overall property division strategy.
Selling to pay off debts
You may need to sell the home if you have considerable marital debts or if keeping the house yourself will be cost-prohibitive. You’ll need to have it appraised, and both parties must approve the sale price. You and your ex could potentially use the profit after the mortgage is paid to cover other debts, so you’re in a better financial position after the divorce.
Keeping joint ownership
You and your ex may keep the home as a joint asset. It could function as a rental home, or you may use it for a bird’s nest arrangement for the children. The terms of the joint ownership, including who’s responsible for what expenses and how any profit will be split, must be written out so both parties know what to expect.
No matter which way you ultimately decide to go, it is important to seek legal assistance with this consequential decision. Otherwise, your future self may pay an unreasonable price for choices made in the moment without due consideration.