Flicker, Kerin, Kruger & Bissada, LLP
Menlo Park
San Ramon

Deciding what to do with the house after divorce

Once you have made the decision to divorce, you have only begun. You still have many other decisions to make, and some may seem like impossible dilemmas. Among the first is figuring out where you will live and what you will do with the house.

This is not a decision to make based on emotions or sentiment. It is important to weigh every contingency and consider every option.

Keeping the house

Because no two families or divorces are alike, your situation is unique, and there is no pat solution for deciding whether to keep the house. You may want to dig in your heels and demand the house as part of your property division, but remember the following expenses that may come with it:

  • Repairs, which could be substantial and ongoing, depending on the age and condition of your house and appliances
  • Maintenance, including yard work and normal upkeep your spouse may have handled that you will now have to pay for
  • Utilities
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Mortgage

You will weigh these expenses against the benefits of remaining in the home, including staying in the same California neighborhood and school district where your children have friends and avoiding the expense of moving.

Giving up the home

If you and your spouse agree that it is not practical to hold on to the family home, you will now have the burden of deciding what to do next. The sale of the home may take time, perhaps longer than your divorce takes, and, again, you will face expenses beyond the purchase price of a new home, including:

  • Down payment
  • Inspections
  • Insurance
  • Closing costs
  • Moving expenses

You may also have the complications of trying to obtain financing on your own for the first time or struggling to rebuild your income with a new job. In fact, many advisors recommend resisting the urge to jump right into home ownership following a divorce and the sale of the family home. Renting may give you time to adjust to your new situation, save some money and investigate your options more carefully.

To avoid having this adjustment period lasting indefinitely, it will be important to arrive at a fair division of marital assets. Avoiding financial struggle after divorce is important, and it may help to work with an experienced legal advisor for the best chances of a satisfying property division.

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