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5 questions to ask if you’re thinking of keeping the house

You and your spouse bought your dream house years ago. Now you’re getting divorced. You don’t want to lose it.

Should you try to keep the house? The answer is different for everyone, but here are five questions you should ask when making your decision:

  1. How much house do you need? For example, if you have kids and are seeking custody, retaining a large family home can be useful.
  2. How much do you owe? If you don’t own the house outright, can you afford the mortgage payments on just one income? A financial decision that was right for a couple may not be right for an individual.
  3. How costly are repairs likely to be? If you can afford the mortgage, but you have nothing left over, something as simple as a broken furnace can be devastating and lead to debt. Homeownership comes with many costs.
  4. Do you want to do the maintenance? Owning a home also takes work. If you have to balance kids, your job, and your social life, do you still have the time and energy to do the minor repairs? If not, do you have the money to pay someone else to do them?
  5. Can you refinance the house and buy your spouse out? This is perhaps the biggest question. You were likely approved for the mortgage as a couple. Will you be approved on your own? Can you pay your spouse any value that he or she is losing in the process?

Again, the answer is different for every couple, so these questions can help guide you through the process. Be sure you know about all of the legal steps you should take either way.

Source: Huffington Post, “Keeping The House After Divorce,” Kathleen B. Connell, accessed Oct. 12, 2017

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