Can I Keep My House Without My Spouse?

Part Two of our series about The Financial Ramifications of Divorce addresses the issues surrounding real property, and things to consider when it comes to keeping the house or selling it.  There are, of course, many good reasons why one spouse might want to keep the home after the split – stability for the children, staying in the same school district, comfort, and a perceived inability to afford reasonable housing elsewhere. Regardless of your reasons, it is extremely important to do your research before deciding whether or not to keep the house after your spouse has moved out.

Things to consider include:

  • The current value of your home
    Fair market value is the amount that you can expect to get if you sell the home in the current market. You can then determine your equity by subtracting the debt owed against the home from the fair market value.
  • Your ability to qualify for refinancing
    You will have to refinance the mortgage into your name alone, and to do this, you must qualify for refinancing. Having someone co-sign for you is a good backup plan, if you don’t qualify alone.
  •  Tax effects
    Don’t forget about the mortgage interest deduction and the fact that it may decrease your tax burden, therefore increasing the amount of your income that is available to you, making it possible to keep the house.
  • Your monthly budget
    Many people who have been married for a number of years are out of touch with their own monthly budgets and financial responsibilities, simply because the other spouse handled all of the finances. Become familiar with all of your monthly obligations in order to determine your true ability to keep your house without your spouse.

As long as you can easily afford the mortgage payments, qualify for refinancing (with or without a co-signer), and have considered all potential taxes and monthly bill obligations, keeping the house and the associated stability should be well within your reach. However, if you determine that it looks like the payments will be uncomfortable for your budget, it may simply be a better idea to sell the house and look for something more affordable. It is important during this time of decision-making to consult with several professionals – your financial planner, an attorney experienced in handling loan modifications and refinances, and a trusted family member or friend.

Above photo courtesy of Mosman Council

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3 Responses to Can I Keep My House Without My Spouse?

  1. Pingback: Veitengruber Law and the Divorce Attorney: How We Can Help You « Veitengruber Law

  2. Pingback: Mortgage Help for the Self-Employed « Veitengruber Law

  3. Pingback: Who Keeps the Marital Home: A THIRD Option | Veitengruber Law

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