As Panama City divorce lawyers, one of the questions we are asked most frequently is what happens to the marital home during divorce. Divorcing couples are often unsure of whether to keep or sell the home, and if they decide not to sell it, are unsure of how the home should be valued and who should end up with it. At The Virga Law Firm, P.A., we understand that this can be a serious point of contention in a divorce because marital homes are filled with memories. In order to help you understand more about whether to keep or sell your home during a divorce, consider the following information:
- What will you give up to keep it? Many people are unaware that they have the option to trade retirement assets for their spouse’s equity in the house. Is this something that you can afford giving up? Keep in mind that retirement planning can be difficult during a divorce since you are already giving up half – ask yourself if it is worth it to lose a greater portion.
- What are your housing options? Take the opportunity to consider alternative housing options in your area which would allow you to afford a similar lifestyle. Are there other similarly-priced homes in the area that you can afford when you consider the tax deductions for mortgage loan interest? What about apartments? Will your children be near their school?
- What is the condition of your home? Before you discuss a settlement, have your home inspected to look for any issues which could potentially affect your home’s value. How old is your home and what kinds of repairs does it need? Does the HVAC system or roof need replacing? Keep in mind that these issues will need to be addressed if you decide to keep the home or will affect how much you can get for your home if you decide to sell.
- Can you afford your home on your own? No matter how much you want to stay in your home, your financial situation will likely take a big hit after your divorce. When deciding whether you can afford the house, consider things like maintenance and repairs, utility bills, and real estate taxes. You’ll also need to determine whether you will be able to qualify on your own income or refinance the mortgage in your own name.
- Why do you want to keep the house? Are your reasons for wanting to keep the house primarily emotional or practical? Take the time to create a list of pros and cons to continuing to live in your home. Doing this can help you clarify your goals and make the right decision more obvious.
For more information, contact our Panama City family lawyer to request your initial consultation today.