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Tuesday, 18 December 2012 07:12

Should You Keep the House in Your Divorce?

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This is a question that comes up quite a bit in my work with couples going through a divorce in Alabama. It can often be a very emotional decision. Well, I recently came across a blog by Kansas divorce lawyer Shea Stevens. Shea is posting some great material. One of her recent articles was on this very issue – Should I Keep the House?

Take a look at the article, because although she addresses it to couples going through a divorce in Kansas, the same questions would apply in an Alabama divorce. The main point, like much of the divorce process in general is to make the decision with your head and not just your heart. Making an emotional decision to keep the house when you will not be able to afford it in the long run could lead to devastating finanical effects.

So, as Shea notes, before making any agreements with respect to your martial home, here are some things to think about:

  1. Can you afford to make the current monthly payment?
  2. Do you have the ability to refinance the home solely in your name?
  3. How much maintenance do you expect your home will need now, in the next year, 5 years? Can you afford this maintenance?
  4. What is your home really worth? How much equity do you have in the home? If you sold the home, would you come up short and have to pay off the mortgage, or would you make money? What is the home’s value in today’s market?
  5. If you are keeping the home, were you given enough assets on your side on the balance sheet to level out the division of property?
  6. Will your children have to switch schools if you move?
  7. Do friends and family live close by?
  8. Can you rent a home of the size suitable for your family for less or will you be paying approximately the same amount in rent as your mortgage payment?