So, you’re getting a divorce. It happens. Now you have to decide what to do with the biggest asset you and your spouse share: your house.
Should you try to keep it? Before you make that decision, here are the things that you need to consider:
1. How much of this decision is emotional?
Is your attachment to the house primarily practical? For example, do you want to stay where you are so that the kids don’t have to change school districts or leave behind familiar surroundings in the middle of the rest of the upheaval in their lives? Those are valid, practical concerns.
If your attachment to the house is primarily emotional, however, you need to take a step back and examine the situation more remotely.
2. Can you really afford it?
Divorce means learning to manage your bills entirely on your own. A house is expensive to upkeep. Not only is the mortgage usually more than the cost to rent, you have to pay taxes and upkeep.
You should sit down with a financial advisor — or, at least, a pen, paper and your bills. You shouldn’t make this decision blind to your financial status.
3. Can you get financing?
Unless your spouse is very accommodating, you will probably have to refinance right away to either get your spouse’s name off the mortgage or buy out your spouse’s equity (or both). That may not be something you can swing on your own — no matter what your credit score.
A visit to your friendly loan officer may help you better understand what’s possible in your situation.
The smart thing to do when you’re going through a divorce and trying to divide your assets is to get some experienced advice — before you make a major mistake.