The practical aspects of divorce are often the most contentious. Couples can have a hard time reaching a mutually agreeable settlement regarding the division of their property. The longer you have lived in the same home, the more you have likely invested through repairs, upgrades and mortgage payments.
Dividing your home may seem like the biggest hurdle when preparing for a divorce, especially if both of you want to keep the house. Before you take your property division matters to court to fight for the home, you need to ask yourself whether keeping the house would really be the best outcome for you.
You will have double the responsibility
Even if you already do a disproportionate amount of household maintenance, your obligations will increase significantly when you are the only person living at the home or the only adult. All of the cleaning, all of the repairs and all of the expenses will be your responsibility.
If the practical aspects of solitary homeownership aren’t concerning enough to give you pause, the financial obligations might be. You won’t just need to make the same mortgage payments that are currently due. You will have to refinance and likely pay out a significant portion of the home’s value to your ex.
Some people can avoid dividing their home equity when they have other assets to balance out property division proceedings, but it is common to need to withdraw some equity when you refinance is part of a divorce. Not only will your principal balance and therefore your payments increase, but your interest rate is likely to go up as well, especially if you refinanced or purchased in the last few years when mortgage rates were at a historical low. You may be able to afford less home than you think you can.
You can receive your share of the home without living there
The equity you’ve built in the home during your marriage is subject to property division rules even if your ex is the one that stays in the house or the two of you sell the property. You can take your share of the home’s value and use it to start over in a space that is not full of memories shared with your ex.
Setting realistic property division goals will make it easier for you to prepare for your upcoming complex divorce proceedings.