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What to do with the house when you divorce

Many of the decisions related to a divorce involve choosing who gets what. Once you and your spouse agree on child custody arrangements, the next consideration is probably the house. Likely the largest financial investment you and your spouse made together, you may be torn about how to deal with it now that you are splitting up.

There is no universal right or wrong answer although some options may be more viable for your situation than others are. Even after considering some of the most common choices couples make when facing a divorce, you may be able to find a unique solution of your own.

Should you stay put?

It is important that you see the big picture and the long-term consequences of whichever choice you make. After all, a house is more than just brick and mortar. It is a mortgage, taxes, insurance and repairs as well. If you fight to keep the house by trading off the bank account during asset division, be sure you have carefully assessed your ability to cover every aspect of homeownership on your own.

In many cases, holding on to the house has its benefits. For example, going through a divorce, while also dealing with the stress of selling a home and finding a new place to live, may be more than you can handle all at once. Additionally, it may be better for the children to remain in a familiar and stable environment during an uncertain time like their parents' divorce. However, remember that a house also holds memories that may be too painful to face when your marriage ends.

Other ways to deal with the house

Keeping the house is just one option, and it is often temporary. Once the children are grown, you will likely want to downsize. On the other hand, you might consider some of the other common options divorcing couples choose when the house is on the table:

  • Selling: Like pulling off a bandaid, selling the house and splitting the proceeds can give you both a fresh start and a little cash in your pockets.
  • Nesting: This concept allows the kids to live in the house while you and your spouse take turns parenting there and living in a rented apartment when it is not your turn to be at the house.
  • Postponing: If you can trust in your ex-spouse to continue making his or her share of the mortgage payments, you may agree upon a fair split of the profits from a sale at a determined time in the future.

Before making any major decisions about property division, you would benefit from seeking the advice of a family law attorney whose experience can guide you in making wise choices for a brighter future.

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