Should you fight for your home during property division?

When a couple goes through a divorce, one of the biggest points of contention is about who will get to keep the home. In most cases, both sides want it because it represents some stability in their post-divorce world, especially when there are children involved. It’s also typically the most expensive single asset and both sides have put blood, sweat and tears into making it a home. Neither one wants to let it go.  It almost becomes a symbol of victory, as if the one who keeps the house has “won” the divorce. Letting go of the memories and emotions that go hand in hand with the house certainly isn’t easy, but in some cases, it’s the best move.

As tough as it might be, throughout the divorce, you have to shift your mindset from emotion to pragmatism to get the best outcome. The same holds true for deciding whether you should hang on to the home in the divorce. Here are some of the main factors to consider:

  • When you bought the house, your mortgage may have been based on two incomes, but being single might bring a whole new set of financial challenges as you try to handle mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, maintenance and property taxes on your salary alone. Trying to stretch yourself financially to hang on to something you don’t need may be unadvisable immediately after going through a split.
  • When your former spouse removes his or her name from the mortgage, you might have to refinance based on your financial situation, which could change things significantly.
  • If you keep the house and sell it, keep in mind that there are tax ramifications that can get complicated.

With all the complexities involved, it may be a good idea to have an attorney help you weigh your options.