Should I fight for the marital home during the divorce?

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

When you met your fiancé and decided to marry, you hoped you’d be together for the long-term. You became one in the eye of the law. Besides having kids, you also acquired assets together. One such investment is the home. But now, you are getting divorced. Should you fight for the home?

While splitting marital property, you may have valid grounds for wanting to keep the home. Perhaps, the court has awarded you primary custody and you want to maintain some form of status quo for the kids. Before you roll up your sleeves to fight for the home, however, it is important that you ask and affirmatively answer these questions. 

Will I afford recurrent expenditures associated with owning the home?

Homeownership comes with its share of costs such as mortgage payments, home insurance, property taxes and routine maintenance costs. While in a two-income arrangement, chances are you shared these costs with your spouse. In a single-income situation, however, these costs might overwhelm you, more so if you have other obligations like child and spousal support as well. Simply put, if you cannot afford the home after the divorce, fighting for it could be a huge misstep. 

Can you afford to buy out your ex?

If you signed up for the mortgage together with your spouse, then the mortgage is your joint responsibility as far as the mortgage company is concerned. That said, it is important to understand that divorce does not automatically exonerate either party from this obligation. The only way you can buy out your ex from the mortgage is through refinancing. But this costs money as well. And if you cannot afford this, then you’re better off not fighting for the home. 

You may be emotionally attached to the home. However, fighting for it without a clear strategy can be counterproductive. Seeking legal help can be a great starting point when pursuing your fair share of the marital property. 

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