Divorce: Who Keeps The House?

Usually in a divorce, the couple that is divorcing needs to make the decision about who is going to keep the house. A couple needs to work with an attorney(s) and/or make sure that the courts address it. It is really up to the divorcing couple to decide who keeps the house or any additional property, or if the house/property will be sold and the money divided by the couple. There are other options, too, and it is important to make sure that the decision is best for everyone involved.

In a divorce, the house and property are the biggest issues. You can sell the house and split the profits; one person can offer to let the other one have it; or the other party will buy out the ex-spouse; the property can be given to charity or sold and the money held in trust for a child or children. It will depend on how the divorce is settled to determine this decision. It is always better when things are worked out between a couple and allow the attorney(s) to handle the details, unfortunately, this is often not possible if a couple is unable to agree on details and the court must settle the issue.

If you are the one that is ready to take on the challenge of keeping the home, you will want to make sure of a few things first. You will want to be certain that you can take on the mortgage payments. You will have to decide if this is a payment that you can afford each month. You must make sure that you have thought about your income now that you are divorced and what you will be able to afford. You also need to consider home insurance, taxes (if any), the costs of keeping the house in good shape and so forth.

You will also want to think about the fact if you really do want the house or not. You have to want the house because it is where you want to stay and not just be the winner of the house to spite the other person. You have to get through these feelings and then determine if this is where you want to stay and rebuild your life after the divorce.

Often it is better for the couple to sell the house and split the profits, allowing each person to start fresh elsewhere. It is important to think about your financial future and what you can afford to loose and gain by keeping or selling the house. Do you really want to start your new life over in a house that you once shared with your ex? Is this the house that you grew up in and want to keep it for sentimental value? Or, do you want to make sure that your children are raised in the home that they know and love? These are a few of things that sometimes people need to think about, and have the right answers for, when it comes time to decide what to do with the house in a divorce.

Another factor to consider is how your choice about the house will affect your credit. This is especially true if the house is ‘under water’ (meaning the couple owes more than the house is worth). Also, if your name is on the mortgage, and your ex-spouse takes the house and does not pay the mortgage, you will be responsible for the loan and your credit may suffer because of it. The lender wants their money no matter if you are living in the home or not. If you own money on the home it may also make it hard for you to go out and purchase your own home later on because of the outstanding balance on the house your ex took but your name remains on the mortgage.

So, it is important for you to either make arrangements with the ex that they are going to be faithful in paying the mortgage or have this documented in the divorce or you may just want to have them get your name off of the mortgage. This may require them to refinance the home in their name only so that you are not longer financially linked to the home. This is something that you will have to think about and make sure that you have everything set before the divorce is final. You want to protect yourself, your credit and ensure that you and your ex-spouse can make a clear break and start over elsewhere.

Divorce is never pleasant for the couple involved. By clearly thinking through exactly how you want the issue of your house settled can go a long ways towards getting emotionally past the divorce and moving forward without additional problems.

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