Should you keep the house after the divorce?

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

One of the most contentious aspects of the property division stage of divorce is deciding who gets the family home. Typically, both spouses fight for marital property, especially the house, often out of vengeance. Other times one spouse wants the home to provide stability for their children.

Sometimes, it is good to hold on to the family home, but in many situations, it is better to give it up or sell it after the divorce. The following sections offer three circumstances in which it might be better to take a pass on the family home:

You cannot afford it

Most divorcing or newly divorced people cannot afford to pay for a house on one income. Even if your spouse agrees you should have the home and you feel you can afford the mortgage payments, you will also be responsible for maintenance, insurance, utilities and other home expenses.

Your kids are almost grown

If you have teenagers about to apply (or already applying) for enrollment in a university, you could soon have a large, expensive, and empty house on your hands. It typically makes better financial sense to get out from under the home and downgrade to something smaller in anticipation of an empty nest.

Your home is in poor condition

A leaky roof, interior damage and a constantly flooded basement are indications that your house might not be worth keeping. If you cannot afford to repair the property, it is likely better to give up on keeping the home.

Consider learning more about the division of assets and property in New Jersey. It can help you plan your strategy whether you choose to keep the home or not.

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