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Is it better or worse to keep the family home in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2018 | Property Division

Our homes are where we go to relax after a long day at work and where family memories are made. Married couples in Virginia may find that the family home is one of their most emotionally and financially valuable assets. Perhaps that is why the family home becomes such a sticking point if a couple decides to divorce. Both parties may be fighting over who gets to keep the home. Sometimes one party wants to keep the home, but the other party wants to sell it. When it comes to deciding what to do with the family home couples need to look at the situation objectively.

First, the parties need to look at what housing opportunities are available in the area where they live. How would the cost of the mortgage compare to the cost of a rental? Are there rental homes available in a desirable area? Are the parties able to pay for moving costs? These are important considerations to keep in mind.

Also, couples need to ascertain the current value of their home. It is possible that the value of their home may be less than what they still owe. It may not be practical to sell a home that is underwater.

If a party wants to keep the home, they need to consider whether they are able to afford the costs of homeownership. This includes paying the mortgage, taxes, utilities and upkeep. If a party can’t meet these financial obligations on their post-divorce budget, it may not be wise to fight to keep the home.

Sometimes, it is advantageous to accept other assets in the property division process in exchange for one’s interest in the home. If a party keeps the home, but down the road decides to sell it, he or she may have to pay costly capital gains taxes.

Finally, there are advantages to simply selling the home and splitting the proceeds. Neither party will need to refinance the mortgage. The sale of the home may provide each party with some much-needed funds to finance their post-divorce lives. And, the parties can be free from any negative memories associated with the home.

In the end, deciding whether to sell or keep the family home in a divorce is a very personal decision. Couples going through a divorce may want to seek professional advice on this topic so they can make informed decisions.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Keep or Sell the Family Home During Divorce?,” Nancy Kay, March 1, 2016

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