You and your spouse are divorcing. You’ve lived together in the same house for 20 years. You instinctively want to keep the home, even if it costs you other assets.
This can be right for some people and wrong for others. To decide how you should proceed, here are three important questions to ask.
- What will it cost?
Consider the monthly cost, but also think about what it will cost when dividing assets. If you are not going to sell the home and split the earnings, what is your spouse going to ask for to offset the value? Are you willing to give that up?
- How long will you actually stay?
You may not be able to say for sure; you can’t always plan around career changes and things of this nature. But think about your general five-year-plan and your 10-year-plan. Is this a home you plan to stay in until you retire, or is this just a house you own now, one you’ll leave in a few years as life moves on?
- Are you clinging to the past?
Those who don’t want to get divorced often can’t bear the thought of losing the home because of what it represents. It may be a home the couple bought together, shortly after getting married, when they were happy. While these are understandably fond memories, do you want to give up other assets to keep that? Is it actually going to hinder you when you can’t put the past behind you?
The answers to these questions are different for everyone. No matter what you decide, be sure you understand how the property division process works and what legal rights you have.