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Keeping the house after divorce: Is it wise?

The thought of moving into a new home after divorce can be daunting for some people. Packing up the house, looking for a new place and moving can just seem like too much to do in the wake of a stressful event. However, staying in the marital home is not always wise - or feasible.

Before you decide that you want to keep your marital home, you should consider a few caveats.

  • It can make it difficult to make a fresh start. Even after your ex moves his or her things out, there will still be memories lingering in your home and potentially uncomfortable situations that arise. For some, this can be too much to handle. Explaining to neighbors what happened and being confronted by reminders of a different time can make it a challenge to move forward for some people.
  • It could be costly. To ensure your house is in your name only, you will likely need to refinance your mortgage. Depending on your financial resources and history, you may not qualify. Also, keep in mind that you will be responsible for all utilities, repairs and tax payments. If these financial demands prove to be too high, finding a more affordable home may be your best option.
  • You have other options. You should not feel like keeping the marital home is your only option. You can sell the home, rent it out or let your ex buy you out. There are even some unconventional options like bird nesting, where ex-spouses keep the marital home as their "nest" where the children live full time. Then, the parents move between the nest and their individual homes in accordance with their parenting plan.

When it could be a wise decision

All that said, there are plenty of situations in which keeping the marital home is prudent. Perhaps you have children you don't want to uproot. Maybe selling in the current market is not in your best interests. You may simply love your house and have the means to keep it.

Whatever you ultimately decide and negotiate in your divorce depends on the details of your specific case. Finding the solution that is right for you and your future can make life after divorce much easier.

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