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What to Do with the Family Home after Divorce


Splitting assets in a divorce can be an emotional process to begin with, and deciding what to do with the family home can be one of the toughest challenges. Both spouses typically have a lot of emotional ties to the property. Before you make a final decision on what to do with the house, there are some important things to consider.

Long Term Costs

Many couples in the process of a divorce don’t think about the long-term costs of holding on to the family home after the divorce is final. Some of these include:

  • Maintenance costs
  • Property tax
  • Potential decline in value
  • Insurance

These are some of the costs that can become a burden for someone who’s now paying for a home mortgage on only one income now. This can also impact how much money you can put away for retirement.

Refinancing the House

If you still have a mortgage and it’s in both you and your spouse’s name, you will have to refinance the house in order to keep it. You can’t just take your ex off the loan or assume the mortgage. The mortgage company is likely going to force you to refinance. Depending on your financial situation, refinancing may not be a desirable option, or even feasible if your credit is not good. If you have a good interest rate, you will lose that and be forced to refinance at current rates today.

Questions to Ask Yourself

There are some questions you can ask yourself to help create an objective list of pros and cons on whether it’s worth keeping the home after the divorce is final.

  • What will it cost you to stay in the house? This is where you factor in all the known and potentially unknown expenses, like major repairs that are looming as well as general upkeep. Do you already know the house needs a new roof in the next five years? Is there a plumbing leak that really needs addressing? Some of these costs can add up for someone on a single income.
  • What are you willing to give up in the divorce settlement in order to keep the house? For most couples getting a divorce, the house is probably the most major asset next to retirement accounts. If you have to trade other assets to keep the house, it may not be worth it if your retirement accounts are depleted or you have few other liquid assets.
  • Does moving provide a better reduction in expenses? Will a smaller mortgage and lower real estate taxes help your financial situation? You need to weigh that against the costs you will incur with selling the house, which can include commissions, title costs, and related legal fees. Start by speaking with a realtor who can provide some insight on costs and provide an accurate home appraisal.

Retaining a Florida Divorce Attorney

If you have questions about asset distribution in a divorce or any other assistance with a pending divorce, speak with one of our skilled Boca Raton divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White. Contact our office at 561-391-9943 to schedule a consultation.

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