If you are in a divorce but have qualms about giving up your family home, there are some major things you need to consider before making the decision about whether to keep it or sell it.
You may be emotionally attached to the home. Maybe you have lived there for a long time. It is a place that is home to your children, near their schools and friends. You may think it is important to keep the house, so the children’s lives change as little as possible.
Whatever the reason that you may want to keep the house, the first step is to get an appraisal of the house to determine its monetary value. California is a community property state, meaning that assets you and your spouse accumulated during your marriage belong equally to you both.
This means that if you want to keep the house, various options need to be considered as to how the division of assets can be done fairly.
#1 Consideration – Can You Afford to Keep the House?
No matter how emotionally attached to the home you are, or how real your reasons for wanting to stay there are, there are several factors you must consider.
- In most cases, the house will need to be refinanced and a loan taken out in just your name. Will you qualify for a loan under your own credit and financial record?
- Is there any way for the current mortgage holder to make it easier for you to get a loan in your name?
- Will you be able to afford the mortgage payment, mortgage insurance, property tax, and homeowners’ insurance, plus set aside money for repairs?
- Will you be able to pay for the general upkeep of the home, such as yard maintenance and utility payments?
- Are you prepared to take on this financial burden? Will meeting all the expenses of homeownership be so great you can’t even go out to eat? Can’t travel? Can’t contribute payment for your children’s extracurricular activities?
Are There Other Assets That Can Be Divided to Offset the Value of the House?
When the value of other assets has been determined, there may be trade-offs that can work out so that you can keep the home. If so, carefully evaluate whether what you give up is worth it to you to be able to stay in the house.
For assistance in valuing your home and division of community property, contact us at Heberger & Company, An Accountancy Corporation.