How to Keep Your Home After a Divorce

divorce homeGoing out to purchase your New Jersey home together with your spouse, you likely didn’t give one thought to what would happen to your dream home in the event of divorce. Most married people don’t see themselves splitting up, but the unfortunate reality is that it does happen to some couples.

If you have found yourself separated and/or divorced and wondering what on earth happens next regarding the family home, rest assured that there are some things you can do to make this transition easier.

If the split was amicable, sit down with your soon-to-be ex-spouse and discuss what you both would ideally like to do with the property. Hopefully you will both agree, and can take steps toward writing your Property Settlement Agreement together.

Let’s assume that you received the home as part of your PSA. While that likely made you quite happy, the reality of keeping your home without your spouse’s income can quickly bring you right back to reality. You may find yourself thinking, “I can legally keep this house – but can I really afford it?”

By working closely with a NJ real estate attorney who specializes in keeping people in their homes, you’ll learn about all of the options available to you.

If you had been married for a number of years, it is possible that you may have to re-learn how to live on one salary. In fact, it’s very possible that you weren’t even involved in taking care of the finances at all. The first step in determining whether or not you can legitimately afford to stay in your home after your divorce is to take a good, hard look at your budget.

You must determine exactly how much cash flow you have coming in every month (your income plus any spousal or child support, if applicable). Next, make a very detailed chart of what goes out (your monthly expenditures) – from all of your utility and auto bills all the way down to your newspaper subscription. Include the mortgage payment when calculating your outgoing bills.

After you’ve run all of the numbers, if you come out with money left over – congratulations! It looks like you’ll have no problem retaining the family home. Removing your spouse’s name from the mortgage documentation will be the next step for you.

Let’s say you didn’t end up with any surplus after figuring out your monthly budget. Does this mean that you definitely cannot afford to stay in your home, which would give you and your (potential) children stability during this tumultuous time?

This is where your real estate attorney comes in. There are a variety of ways to keep your home even when it seems like the impossible. You may qualify to modify the original loan by extending its length, lowering the principal amount due, forgiveness of late fees or a lower interest rate. All of these may make your mortgage something you can legitimately afford.

If you make enough money on your own, you may be able to completely refinance your mortgage, thereby putting the mortgage in your name only. Mortgage refinancing will result in a brand new loan, making the old one invalid. It’s best to go this route when mortgage interest rates are down, and if you have a very good credit score.

Want to learn more about how to keep your home? Interested in investing in real estate? Want to learn how to buy foreclosed properties and flip them for profit?

Come out to the Real Estate Seminar for Everyone this Saturday, April 25th at 9:00AM. Click here for tickets and more information.


Image by Mark Moz licensed under CC 2.0 

3 Responses to How to Keep Your Home After a Divorce

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

  2. Pingback: Is Equitable Distribution Dischargeable in Bankruptcy? | Veitengruber Law

  3. Pingback: Displaced Homemakers: Getting Back on Track | Veitengruber Law

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