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Stephen Beroes, Elizabeth A. Beroes, Julie Elizabeth Beroes, and Shanice Williams
Stephen Beroes, Elizabeth A. Beroes, Julie Elizabeth Beroes, Shanice Williams

How to deal with the family home in your divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Property Division

Dividing marital property in the divorce process can be stressful. After all, you and your spouse have worked hard to build a life together, and untangling your lives and your assets can feel like ripping apart all your accomplishments.

And while you have to find a way to cope with the very real emotional implications of the process, you also have to be cognizant of how dividing marital assets will impact your future, as a poorly devised property division strategy can leave you without the resources you need and deserve to build the next chapter of your life.

One major property division issue that’s often faced in divorce is figuring out what to do with the family home. You and your spouse might have sentimental attachment to the residence, especially if you raised your children there, and the property might carry significant value. But is fighting for the residence in your best interests?

Reasons why fighting for the family home might not be in your best interests

Sure, acquiring the family residence might give you a sense that you’ve won a major argument in your divorce, but taking on the family home might be more burdensome than you think.

To start, you’ll have to cover mortgage payments and homeowner’s insurance on your own, which could create a strain given your diminished household income.

You’ll also have to keep up with repairs and maintenance, which can be costly. It can also be challenging to invest the time needed to keep your house and your yard clean and up to the standard that you want.

If that all sounds overwhelming, then you might want to consider some other options for handling your home in a divorce.

Options for disposing of the family home in your divorce

There are several ways to address the family home in your marriage dissolution. This includes:

  • Keeping the home by buying out the other spouse or giving up other marital assets: This may be a viable option, but keep the concerns mentioned above in mind. Also, be careful with which assets you give up in exchange for the marital home, as they could set you behind as far as retirement or overall financial stability is concerned.
  • Negotiate to give the residence to your spouse: If your spouse wants the home, then you might be able to use it as a bargaining chip to secure other assets that you really need and want. This option could put you in a strong financial position moving into the next portion of your life.
  • Sell the home: This is a commonly utilized option. Here, you and your spouse sell the home and divide the profits. Just keep in mind that there may be tax implications here, and you’ll want to ensure that you and your spouse agree on what constitutes a fair selling price so that you don’t end up fighting over the issue.
  • Continue co-ownership: This can be tricky to do, but if you and your spouse have the funds to secure your own independent residences without selling the family home, then you could consider turning the family home into a rental property that generates revenue for each of you.

Find the path forward that makes the most sense

In the midst of your divorce, you have to focus on what’s best for you, your children, and your future. Therefore, before making a reactionary decision that’s based on sentimentality or an emotional response, carefully think through the implications of your various options. Hopefully then you’ll comfortably chart a course that best positions you for a successful post-divorce future.