The home a couple shares throughout their marriage has both sentimental and financial value attached to it. Deciding what to do with the home during a divorce is often a source of great confusion, contention, or heartbreak. Spouses may both want to keep the home but wonder whether they can afford it. At the same time, they may be worried that relocating the children during divorce will be traumatic and cause more problems.
Whether you ultimately end up negotiating to keep the home or selling it and splitting the value, the issue of the home must be dealt with as part of the marital property division. Even transferring the mortgage or title to one spouse’s name can be a complex and time-consuming process, so it is best to begin early. Here are some tips to help you think about the process.
Before you start assertively negotiating to keep your home, you need to decide whether managing the expenses and upkeep of the house by yourself is plausible or even worth it. Homes are expensive and require extensive maintenance. Unexpected repairs, major upgrades, and even unpredictable natural disasters may be twice as difficult to deal with on one income. Creating a budget to determine the mortgage payments, homeowners’ insurance, and repair costs can help you decide whether you want to keep the home or focus on other priorities.
If you decide you want to keep the home and your spouse does not object, you will next need to determine how you will “buy out” your spouse’s value in the home. You could do this using cash in a savings account, draw from your portion of your home’s equity, or even by withdrawing from your retirement account. Make sure you are fully aware of the implications of moving large amounts of money, especially in regards to potential taxes and penalties.
If you and your spouse share a mortgage on your home, the mortgage will need to be refinanced in your name only. If you need to draw on your home’s equity to pay off your spouse’s share of the home, your mortgage rate could go up and you may need to take out PMI insurance. These extra expenses could necessitate more working hours or a different job, so it is important to start planning as soon as you know a divorce is imminent.
The marital home is often the most significant asset a couple owns, and the way it is handled in divorce can have major repercussions for your financial future. If you are debating whether you want to keep your marital home or want help in the negotiations over marital property, consider scheduling a free consultation with the experienced DuPage County marital property attorneys at Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices. Call us today at 630-932-9100.
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