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Questions to ask before keeping the home after divorce

Whether or not to keep the family home after a divorce is a huge decision that you should not rush. It is understandable to want to hold onto such an important piece of your life and assets, but this is not necessarily the best decision for your family. Assess your situation and your finances first, asking yourself these questions:

Can I afford to keep the home?

A house is a huge investment. That may be one reason you want to hold onto it, since you have already put so much work into it. However, you need to look at your ability to stay financially stable. You would be making the mortgage payments without your spouse’s income helping you anymore.

How will this affect other areas of my finances?

Mortgage payments are not the only consideration when calculating whether you can afford the home. You would need to rework your entire budget. Can you take on these payments and still afford to care for your kids? What would you need to sacrifice to make room in your budget? It is up to what you are willing to change or give up.

Do I have a good credit score?

To keep the house, you would need to refinance it in your name, which requires a good credit score. Would you be able to do this?

Can I manage a house on my own?

How much maintenance does your house require? If you live in a large home, it may take a lot of work to keep everything clean and functioning. Think about your schedule and your ability or willingness to upkeep the house on your own. Would it be beneficial to move somewhere smaller or with less maintenance?

Do the pros outweigh the cons?

If you thoroughly assess your circumstances and are capable of keeping the home, now you have to decide if it is still worth it to do so. Make a list of all the positive sides of keeping the home, such as having a place that is familiar to the children, and all the disadvantages, such as the financial or lifestyle changes it could present. Look at your list and weigh your options against each other.

In the end, only you can make the decision for yourself. With that being said, talking to a family law attorney about the home is a wise idea. An attorney can look at the situation from an outside perspective and offer advice based on past experience with divorces and family home decisions. He or she can also discuss some effects of keeping a home that you may not have realized on your own.

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