The most common solution to dividing the marital home during a divorce is actually to sell that house. This allows the couple to divide what they earn — or the debt that they’re left with — and move on.
However, that doesn’t mean that you and your spouse necessarily want to sell the house. Maybe the market is low and you don’t think it’s a good time to sell. Maybe you have children and you’d like the kids to be able to stay in their home. Maybe the house was your dream home when you bought it and still feel that way — even if you will no longer be married.
Should you keep it?
Perhaps the most important thing to consider is the financial reality of owning the home by yourself. Can you afford it? You bought the home as a couple. Maybe you had two incomes. It’s common sense, but it’s important to remember that after a divorce, emotions often interfere with the financial equation. Look at more than just the monthly bank payment. The reality of meeting your mortgage as well as utilities and associated house expenses may ultimately extend beyond your reach.
While the law provides for “equitable distribution” of marital assets, it doesn’t necessarily mean a 50/50 split. The final property judgment may give one spouse a larger percentage of the property value. Your judgment may require you to buy out your spouse’s percentage if you decide to remain living there or wish to sell at a later date when the market is in your favor. If you decide to get a mortgage to buy out your ex-spouse’s percentage of the house, the transaction will hinge on whether or not you qualify on your income alone. You may also need to barter with other assets as you divide property, so it depends on what you want to give up.
The answer to this question is simply that you need to make the decision for yourself. There is no right or wrong answer for everyone. Just make sure you know what steps to take and what factors to consider.