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Should I Keep the House When I Get Divorced?

By June 8, 2012July 21st, 2023Alisse Camazine Featured, Divorce

By Alisse C. Camazine

This is one of the most asked questions of people getting divorced.   There are many considerations.

Is there enough money for you to take care of the house so that you are not cash poor?  In this economy, however, there are lots of questions to think about.  Trying to pay the mortgage and meet the new expenses of living separately can leave you without sufficient funds to survive. If the house is upside down, as many houses are now, will you receive the money you need to be able to sell the house, of will you sell it at a loss?

Often times at the time of a divorce one spouse is adamant that they not sell the house.   The emotions of selling and moving are just too devastating.  The parent worries about how will the kids take the need to move.

Can you afford the upkeep and still afford a vacation with the kids?  Oftentimes kids resent the sale of the house, but they may resent being house poor even more, being unable to do what they did before the divorce just because you decided to keep the house.  Perhaps you should consider looking for another house with the children-one that may not cost as much to keep or have all the bad memories which the divorce leaves.

Don’t forget to consider whether taxes that need to be paid when you are considering whether to keep the house.

In order to make a final decision, make sure you review you expenses at the house over the last few years.  Consider maintenance on the house – both the costs you spent and the ones you deferred.  Review your expenditures for lawn, snow removal, taxes, utilities, appliance repair, plumbing, taxes, insurance, pool costs.   Consider whether there will be enough money today these items without ruining the quality of your life by doing so.

Consider also that you may have to give up other assets in order to secure the home.  Consider whether or not this is smart.   Is $600,000 in cash worth getting for  a house with $600,000 in equity and all the bills associated with the house?  You may have to trade retirement monies that grow tax free in order to keep the home.

This is a difficult decision but needs to be made without emotions.   Consult an accountant and a financial planner for assistance, as well as your attorney.


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