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4 Questions You Need To Answer If You Want To Keep The Family Home After Divorce

A grey couch in a sunny living room.
Keeping the family home after divorce is a huge expense. Are you sure you can afford it?

Whether you're in an apartment, condo, townhouse or single family house, the idea of leaving your family home after divorce can feel overwhelming and scary.

Maybe your life is firmly rooted in the area, or your kids go to in school nearby, or your job is close by -- whatever the reason is you want to stay put, you'll want to do your homework in advance so you don't make a big financial mistake.

Start your process by answering these 4 questions... Want To Keep The Family Home After Divorce

What are the steps to keep your house in a divorce?

The most important thing you can do in order to figure out if you can keep your house after divorce is to have a clear understanding of your financial realities. Knowing how much money you have coming in every month, and going out, is critical in order to assess what your post-divorce life finances will look like. Want To Keep The Family Home After Divorce

Not sure where to start? The Divorce Planner's monthly budget calculator takes the guesswork out of how to assess if you'll be in a position to take on all of the costs associated with the property on your own after divorce.

What should the divorcing partners consider when deciding who gets the house?

Make sure to assess any proposal using these questions as your starting point:

  • Is the proposed deal equitable?

  • Will your children benefit from this agreement?

  • Are both parties clear on the terms?

  • Will there be any residual issues that tie you together after the agreement is made?

  • What will maintenance costs be moving forward?

  • How will the deed read after this agreement is made?

  • Will you be able to keep the existing mortgage, or will you have to secure a new one?

Is a verbal agreement of terms enough, or do you need to get everything in writing?

If you propose buying your soon-to-be-ex out of their share of the family home, make sure all the terms are in writing so that neither party feels misled or misunderstood in negotiations.

Having a piece of paper between you that details the terms and conditions you both agreed to goes a long way to protect each party when memory fades. That information can either be included in your divorce judgment, a stand alone email between the two of you or a part of a separation agreement.

What additional questions should I answer in order to determine if I should keep the home or give it up?

The things you need to ask yourself are:

  1. Can you afford all of the expenses associated with the home on your own? Mortgage, property taxes, insurance, repairs, etc.

  2. If you sell the property down the line, what will your tax exposure be? If the property has gained a lot equity since the initial purchase you could face paying a higher capital gains tax if you sell. (The last thing you'll want is to be hit with a bill that wipes out whatever equity you've built up!)

If you want more information about what divorce and your property, check out The Divorce Planner's interview with CDRE Selina St. Clair. (Selina is a certified divorce real estate expert!)


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