Are you considering your marital home after a divorce? We can help! Keep on reading for four useful tips to help keep your house.
No matter the circumstances, divorce can be an emotionally challenging experience that often brings significant changes –– and not just in relationship status. You’re living life one way, and suddenly things that were never a cause for concern (like what might happen to the family home) come to the forefront. This can add stress to already challenging circumstances, making it difficult for any divorcing spouse to navigate the process and arrive at a mutually beneficial resolution. But no matter how amicable the split is, tensions over the family home can still arise –– and you may wonder how to keep your house in a divorce.
We’ll explore 4 tips to help you understand divorce and mortgage and keep your house amidst a divorce, helping you not just navigate this challenge but come out the other side better off.
There are several reasons why you might want to keep your marital home during a divorce. During this time, a home with a shared history can feel like the only constant in a world of uncertainty. Alternatively, it can feel like a relic from a bygone era –– one that many homeowners might be ready to put behind them. But ultimately, it’s not uncommon for both parts of a divorcing couple to latch onto a home for its steadying power during a particularly unsteady time.
Divorcing spouses with children especially may have a greater incentive to hold on to the family home. For families with school-aged children, this home can be attached to a particular school zone with an accompanying set of friends, a routine, and an entire life, making it all the more important to fight for this constant. But rarely do both spouses get to keep the shared home (effectively), and those looking to come out of the divorce with the house keys in hand may benefit from these tips.
Please note: While the Truehold team works tirelessly to help homeowners understand and explore new ways to unlock home equity, the below should not be interpreted as legal advice. If you have any questions regarding the legal steps to keep your home, we recommend you reach out to a skilled legal professional in your area.
It’s not just an expression: when it comes to keeping your house or marital property during a divorce, knowledge is literally power. Therefore, your first step in holding on to your family home will be familiarizing yourself with every divorce law in your jurisdiction, as regional nuances can significantly impact property division (like what may constitute community property, for example.)1
Consulting with a qualified family law attorney is crucial to understanding your rights and the extent of your available options, and equipping yourself with this knowledge early can inform the rest of the divorce process. While the idea of lawyering up may not seem ideal to the more conflict-averse, there are alternative dispute resolution methods designed to help divorcing couples through this process without conflict. Through methods like mediation and collaborative divorce, couples can arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement that prioritizes the interests of both parties.
Clear and open communication with your spouse is vital during the divorce process, and its importance is only magnified when discussing the fate of your shared home. Of course, this may be easier said than done, but by engaging in honest and respectful conversations with your spouse when expressing your wishes (and concerns), you can pave a path toward a better resolution.
This means remaining open to your spouse's perspective, too –– and getting your needs out on the table may play in your favor when it comes to keeping your home following the divorce. As you explore various settlement options, such as selling the house and dividing the proceeds, buying out your spouse's share, or co-owning the marital property for a specified period, consider your spouse’s stance to negotiate the resolution that works for both of you.
While you may be dead set on keeping your house in a divorce, what once was a shared expense may be too much to bear on a single budget. And even if –– after an open conversation (and skilled negotiation) with your spouse –– it’s decided that you’ll keep the family home, you should carefully evaluate your financial profile to determine whether keeping the house is a viable option or buying a house a during a divorce is a better choice. Assess your income, expenses, and the affordability of maintaining the property, considering the mortgage payment, property taxes, insurance, and all maintenance costs.
You’ll also likely want to calculate the current and future value of the house, as its current market value and projected value may impact your decision. Keep in mind: the divorce proceedings may bring about additional expenses, so do your best to factor in these costs when piecing together your financial picture. (If holding your finances under a microscope seems like too much to take on, a skilled financial planner with divorce experience will be able to help.)
With a clear idea of your financial profile and an agreement between you and your spouse that the marital residence will be your sole responsibility, you’ll likely find yourself in one of two positions: Either you’ll be exploring how sole homeownership will work, or you’ll be exploring alternatives. If you’re in the latter camp, you’ve got several options:
If neither of these alternatives feels like the right fit, you might find that Truehold's sale-leaseback presents an innovative alternative –– offering financial freedom while allowing you to stay put. Here's how it works:
Truehold's sale-leaseback can be a great alternative for anyone looking to keep their home during a divorce while also accessing valuable home equity.
Divorce is tricky enough without wondering what will come of your shared home, but by ensuring you have a clear understanding of the legal process, communicating openly with your spouse, carefully evaluating your financial situation, and remaining open to innovative solutions like Truehold's sale-leaseback, you can better your odds of retaining your cherished home as you lay the foundation for your new life.
Need more help navigating the divorce process? Check out our tips on managing your mortgage through a divorce, purchasing a new home during a divorce, and establishing long-term financial goals.
1. Investopedia. Community Property Meaning, and When and Where It Applies. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/communityproperty.asp
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