For many people, there are two things they’re concerned about when facing divorce: the children and their home. They want to make sure they can still see the kids and they do not want to lose the home where those kids feel most comfortable.
It is true that the courts also want to keep children connected with their parents, and they’ll strive to do so. Sharing custody is now far more common than sole custody. But what about the house? Here are a few things you need to know.
You have to decide what is affordable
Keeping the home is a big decision. It comes with many costs: a mortgage, insurance, upkeep, taxes, utilities, etc. Don’t stay just because it’s comfortable and familiar. Decide if you can really afford it on your post-divorce budget. Many people are surprised by how much a divorce changes their finances.
You likely need a new mortgage
Don’t assume you can keep the home and the payments you’re making right now, even if they’re affordable. If you have a joint mortgage loan with your ex, you likely need to refinance so that it is only in your name. At best, this means the cost changes. At worst, you may find it hard to get a loan on one income that can pay for the house.
Be wary of what you give up
If you do keep the house, your ex may want assets in exchange, and be wary about what you surrender to get this house. For instance, there are stories of people giving up their retirement accounts. It feels fine at the time, but they later discover that it’s harder to retire — or impossible — and that their asset (the house) is just costing them money, while their ex’s asset (the retirement fund) has been earning money.
Consider all of your options
This is a big decision and it can be a complex process. Be sure that you carefully consider all of the options you have and the steps you need to take to put your children and your future first.