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Keeping the house after a divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2020 | Divorce

For many New Jersey couples, divorce can mean upheaval, uncertainty and change. Some may try to minimize the negative emotions that accompany change and uncertainty by maintaining as much routine and familiarity as possible. This may mean opting to obtain the family home during property division. However, many legal and financial advisors do not recommend this step unless those involved have made a careful examination of the potential burden an individual may face trying to manage the house alone.

Selling the house and splitting the proceeds requires divorcing spouses to work together toward this goal, which may not be easy. The sale may extend beyond the finalization of the divorce, and the outcome may require some negotiation, such as if the home leaves the couple still owing on the mortgage. Keeping the home, however, may be even more of a burden for the one who decides to remain.

A heavy obligation

It is important that an individual knows the financial responsibilities keeping the house will include, such as maintenance, utilities and improvements on a single income. The remaining spouse will have to refinance the loan to remove the other spouse’s name, which a divorce court may require. To do so may mean getting a co-signer or raiding one’s investments or retirement plans.

A divorcing couple who has children may decide it is best that the children remain in the family home where they feel secure and can continue going to the same New Jersey school and seeing their friends. They may have to come up with some creative ways for the individual parent to afford to remain in the home, such as renting out rooms or co-owning the home after the divorce. However, before making any decisions about property division, it is wise to seek experienced legal counsel.