Divorce is emotional, and it can be tempting to hold onto things that you may not need and that might end up doing more harm than good. While you can keep your memories if you want them, you might want to think twice before you try to keep the house in the divorce. Below, we will be looking at the pros and cons of keeping the house, as well as some of the things you need to consider before you make your decision.
Why would you want to keep the house after you have filed for divorce? For some people, it’s about that emotional attachment to the place. It’s where they’ve lived, often for years, and it could be where they raised their kids. However, emotion is not a reason to keep the house. There are some potentially good reasons, though.
Pros of Keeping the House After Divorce
First, if you have children who are still at school and living at home, keeping the home could help to provide some added stability for them. They are already going through a loss with their parents getting divorced, so having the house remain the same could help to give them a feeling of permanence they might be lacking right now.
Maintaining the property will also mean that it’s part of your estate. If you own the home and are not paying a mortgage on the property, it could be worthwhile to keep the house. However, it might not have as much value or be able to gain as much value as other assets that are being split in the divorce. If you were to take other accounts and investments and sold the property and split the proceeds with your ex, it could make more financial sense.
Cons of Keeping the House After Divorce
You will find that there are more cons to keeping the marital home than there are pros to keeping it. One of the biggest of those disadvantages is the cost. When you are going through a divorce, it will be more difficult to keep the home because you may not be able to afford the mortgage. You have less income after the divorce than before in most cases. This means that it could end up being a major financial burden for you.
Even if you have paid off the mortgage, there is still the full cost of maintaining the property. It will be more difficult to handle this maintenance and each expense will need to be paid by just one person instead of two. In some cases, you might not have access to funds to buy the other spouse out of the home. It could be difficult to get refinancing to put the home in your name.
In most cases, the best course of action is to sell the marital property.
What Should You Consider Regarding the House?
If you are still considering keeping the home, you have to be honest with yourself. One of the first questions that you should ask is how long you plan to live in the house. If you feel that you will keep the house forever and you do not have any plans of moving, then it would make more sense to ask for it in the divorce than if you were only going to stay in the home for a few years until your kids are out of school.
If you only plan to stay in the home short-term, the costs associated with the home will typically be higher than the appreciation of the house when you decide to sell. It wouldn’t make financial sense to keep the home. You would also have to think about some of the potential tax implications.
It’s also important to think about what you would be giving up if you decide to keep the house. Remember, in Arizona, community property is typically split 50/50. If you keep the home, your ex will have the same value of the home awarded them in other assets. This might include things like retirement assets or investments, for example. They could eventually end up being worth far more than the property.
Always be realistic with yourself about keeping up with house payments and maintenance. Too many people feel that they can easily get a job that will cover those expenses, only to find out that it’s not quite so simple. Getting behind on mortgage payments of a house you can’t afford can lead to foreclosure, credit issues, and a host of other problems.
Think About What’s Right for You
Ultimately, you have to think about what’s right for you, and this means learning how to put your emotions aside. Just because you may have raised your children in the home, it’s just a house. It’s just wood, stone, and a veneer that’s covering bad memories that you want to romanticize. Most of the time, keeping the house is a bad idea. You have your good memories. Let your bad ones disappear with the sale of the house. Put the money that you get to better use.
Consider Talking to Professionals
Sometimes, it can be difficult to know whether it’s a good idea for you to keep the house or not. You might want to consult with a financial specialist to help you run the numbers. They can help you to see whether keeping the home would be in your best interest, or if it would end up being a major drain on your finances. Sometimes, it takes having that outside perspective to help you see the best course of action.
Additionally, you may want to talk with an attorney. They have seen cases similar to yours before, and they can also help you to see whether keeping the house is a good or bad decision. Of course, they can also help with all of the other legal matters of the divorce and can make sure that you get what you should be getting.