Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding What to do With Your Home After a Divorce
Getting a divorce doesn’t just impact your personal life and relationships but it also heavily impacts your finances. For most people, their home is the most valuable asset they control. Thus, if you purchased a home with your ex-spouse, deciding who stays at the home or if you are going to sell the property can complicate an already difficult and confusing process. Depending on where you live, there may be several laws and factors that will guide your decision to sell or keep your marital home. However, by asking yourself these questions before deciding what to do with your marital home, you can save yourself money, time, and stress.
Are Your Mortgage Payments Affordable
Going through a divorce can seriously diminish your finances. Not only do you have to pay a significant about of money to finalize the divorce, however, but your spouse can also take a significant portion of your assets and may even require that you pay them each month. Because of these factors, almost everyone who goes through a divorce must adjust their spending habits. Thus, you may need to minimize your housing payments—especially if you are locked into other long-term financial commitments. The need to minimize monthly spending is the most common reason why people sell their marital property after a divorce.
While expensive mortgage payments are the common cause for why people sell a property, just because the mortgage payments may be slightly over your current budget does not mean you should necessarily sell the property. For example, if you are in your dream home and can cut expenses in other spending categories, keeping your marital home can make sense. Additionally, even if you sell your home to downsize, you may find the costs associated with the costs of renting or buying a new property are much higher than your current housing expenses.
Is the Local Housing Market Profitable
Selling your home is one of the easiest ways that you can reduce your monthly expenses. If your home sale is profitable, you can not only reduce your monthly spending, but you can also free up extra funds that will help you work through your divorce.
While selling your home can be profitable, you must calculate a few expenses associated with this sale. For example, you will need to figure out the cost of home repairs, updates, stages, and real estate fees.
After considering potential fees that you may encounter, you should also look at local housing prices to understand your potential profits. This is important as if the housing market is down, it may make sense to hold the property for a period of time after the divorce before selling.
Do you Live in a Community Property State
Certain states have different rules regarding how the profits from the sale of a marital home will be split. In states that utilize community property laws, financial assets are split evenly during a divorce. The two largest community property states are California and Texas. In either of these or other states, if you purchased a property during your marriage, the profits of the sale will be evenly split between yourself and your ex-spouse. If only one person plans on making mortgage payments on the property, it may be useful to create a prenuptial agreement so that all the money you put into the home will not have to be split.
Is the Divorce or Division of Assets Contested
Whether your divorce is going smoothly or particularly heated and contested will play a big factor in whether you keep or sell your marital home. The reason for this is that both parties must agree to the sale of the home before it can be listed. What makes this issue worse is that most assets are frozen as soon as either spouse files for divorce. If one partner does not want to willingly sell the property, the other party can file a lawsuit after the assets are unfrozen. This lawsuit will look to force the other party to sell the home. If you are in a contested divorce and want to sell your home, you should hire a real estate attorney.
Do you Have Minor Children
If you have minor children, you should consider how they will be affected if you choose to sell your home. For example, by having one parent keep the marital home, your children will be able to keep their normal routine. Further, they could continue attending school and keep their friends. Even if you move to another house in the school district, this can take an emotional toll on your children. If you have no choice but to sell your home or it makes much more financial sense to sell your home, consider speaking to a counselor or therapist about working through any emotional stress your children are experiencing.
Are you Using the Property as Collateral for a Business
Failing to separate your personal and business life can complicate how real estate holdings are handled during a marriage. For example, some people use their homes as collateral to take out a loan for a business. In this case, you may have to give up your property to maintain complete control over your business.
The main goal of a family law attorney should be to help both parties avoid litigation and move toward mediation. However, lawyers cannot settle certain disputes in mediation. When this occurs, a DC family law attorney can help litigants get justice. With over 20 years of experience helping clients with their DC family law issues, Antonoplos & Associates family law attorneys have the knowledge required to help you through any issues that may occur.
Contact Our DC Law Office for More Information
For more questions to ask yourself before deciding what to do with your home in a divorce, contact us. You can also directly schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.