To Keep the Family Home or to Sell it? What to do in a Florida Divorce
In most Florida divorces, the big question – outside of “who gets the kids?” – is, “What should we do with the family home?” Monetary value aside, couples have a hard time separating from their family home for emotional reasons. Oftentimes the family home represents security and stability during an otherwise emotionally trying time.
If you find yourself in the midst of a Florida divorce and unable to decide what to do with your family home, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the Current Equity in Your Home?
Before deciding what to do with your home, figure out what the current equity is. To determine this, find out what the fair market value is and then subtract the amount of debt still owed on the home in the form of mortgages and liens.
- Can You Afford the House Payments on Your Own?
If, after calculating the equity on the home, you decide that you still want to keep it, you need to figure out if you can afford the payments on it. Payments include tax payments, mortgage payments, home insurance, and HOA fees if applicable. Furthermore, you need to consider maintenance costs, such as lawn care, pool service, security, and repairs. If you cannot afford to make all the payments associated with the home, it would not be a wise decision to keep it. This is especially true if keeping the home will wind up being more of a financial and emotional burden than an asset.
- What Assets Are You Giving Up to Keep the Home?
Many individuals who opt to keep the family home must give something up in return. Oftentimes, that something comes in the form of property or assets. For instance, in exchange for the family home, the judge might grant your spouse more of the marital assets in order to keep in line with Florida’s equitable distribution laws. Or, in order to keep the family home, you may have to trade your interest in retirement assets. Before deciding to keep the family home, truly assess how the decision will impact your future.
- Can You Afford to Refinance the Mortgage in Your Name?
If you are awarded the family home in the divorce, and if your spouse’s name is on the mortgage, chances are that he or she is going to want to remove his or her name. In order to so, you would need to refinance the mortgage into your own name. Doing so would change the payments according to your income. Before refinancing, speak with a lender to determine if the new payments are something you can afford.
Consult with a Boca Raton Divorce Lawyer
Whether or not to keep the family home is one of the most difficult decisions a couple will face in divorce. The divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White will help you weigh the pros and cons of such a decision and come up with a solution that you will benefit you and your children now and for years to come. To schedule a private consultation with one of the legal representatives at our Boca Raton family law firm, call 561.391.9943 today, or schedule an appointment online.