Is keeping the family home worth the effort during a divorce?
This article looks at the benefits and drawbacks of keeping the family home after a divorce.
For most couples going through a divorce the biggest asset that will have to be divided is the family home. During many divorces, deciding who gets the house can lead to fraught discussions and plenty of sleepless nights. The family home is certainly an important asset, not just because of its financial value, but for emotional reasons as well. However, far too often people going through a divorce tend to focus too much of their time and effort on keeping the house while overlooking other important considerations that come up during a divorce. Below is a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of keeping the family home after a divorce.
Why keep the house?
For many people, the main reason for keeping the house tends to be an emotional one. People going through a divorce tend to have a lot of fond memories tied up with the family home, especially if they have stayed in that home for a long time. Moving to another house could also mean living further away from family and friends.
There are, however, very practical reasons for keeping the house depending on one’s specific situation. As the Wall Street Journal points out, parents may want to stay in the same house so that their children can keep going to the same school. Additionally, real estate prices and trends vary greatly across the country and, in some cases, it might make sense to hold onto the home and wait for house prices to increase enough to sell that home at a higher rate in the future.
Why let it go?
While there may be perfectly good reasons for holding on to the family home, it is important to not overlook some of the drawbacks. As USA Today points out, in many cases a divorce will mean that the person who keeps the home will have to continue maintaining the property but on a reduced income. When taking into consideration maintenance costs, property taxes, and so on, a large family home may not make much sense for somebody who is now supporting him or herself on a single income.
Furthermore, negotiating who gets the home can be time consuming and may mean overlooking other assets that are just as important as the house in the long run. Pensions, for example, may form a significant portion of the marital estate, although they obviously don’t carry as much emotional value for most people as the family home does. Nonetheless, focusing more on pensions, retirement funds, and other assets may prove more worthwhile in terms of planning for one’s financial future well after the divorce.
Divorce is a process that raises many important legal and financial questions for all parties involved. Because the stakes during a divorce can be so high, it is imperative that those going through a divorce contact a family law attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will have the knowledge and skills necessary to help clients through this difficult time and provide them with advice that can help them protect their best interests.