Should I fight to keep the family home?

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

While you should be worried about how divorce will affect you on an emotional level, including affecting how and when you will spend time with your children, you should also be concerned about how it will affect you financially. Property division, spousal support, and child support can all determine how stable you are once you move past marriage dissolution.

Yet, property division can be a confusion process, oftentimes because emotions are often tied to the assets we own. For some people, this is especially true when it comes to the family home. As a result, they may decide that they want to fight for the house. This may not always be the best option, though, which is why you need to carefully consider the avenues available to you before settling on one:

  1. Accept or give up the home in exchange for other assets: This is a way to equitably divide assets, but it might require you to give up cash in banking and retirement accounts. You can even choose to outright buy your spouse’s share of the residence, which might be half of whatever remains on your mortgage. Keep in mind that taking the house on by yourself means that you’ll be solely responsible for mortgage payments and repairs, which can be expensive. On the flip side, if you give up the home in exchange for assets, you might set yourself up financially to start your new life post-divorce. Of course, you’ll have to determine if you can separate yourself from the home and whether that’s in your best interest.
  1. Sell the home: Perhaps the most common option, you and your spouse can sell the home and fairly divide the proceeds. This gives a clean break and provides you with a little financial boost coming out of divorce. You and your spouse will just have to make sure you come to a consensus on the terms of the sale.
  2. Continue to jointly own the residence: There may be a number of reasons to do this. You might be able to rent it out to cover the mortgage and repair costs while continuing to build equity. You might rotate which parent lives in the home in order to provide your children with a sense of stability. Regardless, be aware that this can be a costly option. With that being said, it might be right for you.

Dealing with property can be one of the many challenges you face in divorce. As overwhelming as that may seem, don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Instead, go into negotiations with a clear head and a full understanding of what you want for your future. An attorney who is skilled in this area of the law may be able to assist.

FindLaw Network