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Can I afford to keep the marital home after divorce?

| Sep 25, 2020 | Divorce |

Maintaining a safe, stable home environment after a divorce is important. This is especially true for mothers who hope to keep their children in the marital home. However, many women believe that keeping the house is unrealistic and begin emotionally preparing themselves to move on.

This does not have to be the case. Like women all across Minnesota, you might be better equipped to keep your house than you realize. Here are a few things to ask yourself when deciding whether you and your kids should stay in the family home or if it is time to move on.

How much is my home worth?

While people usually hope that their homes are worth much more than what they paid, you are probably looking for the lowest possible price. You cannot be totally sure what your home is worth until you have had it correctly appraised. Rather than guess, you should consider having a professional real estate appraiser provide your home’s correct value.

Doing this before property division will help you feel more prepared and possibly reduce arguments. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse might be more likely to disagree about the home’s value if neither of you took the effort to have it appraised. You might also hit unexpected roadblocks if your spouse secured a correct value, but you did not.

Can I afford it?

After correctly valuing your home and securing a mortgage with a favorable interest rate, you might feel fully prepared to keep the home. Owning a home is about much more than just the monthly mortgage payment though. You must also consider some of the following:

  • Utilities
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance costs
  • Taxes

Although everyone is different, most experts advise that your housing costs should only account for around 25% of your income. The monthly expense of owning a home might fall within that range while you are receiving alimony and child support, but these payments do not last forever. Be sure to assess what your future might look like, especially if you are reentering the workforce or seeking new employment.

What if I don’t have a job?

If you were not working or were only working part time, you might not feel optimistic about your ability to secure a mortgage. However, some companies offer mortgages for borrowers who are in situations similar to yours — those who have sizable assets but limited income. If you are set to receive a settlement in your divorce and are also receiving child support and alimony, you may qualify for one of these special mortgages without having a job.

Although you probably have many happy memories in your marital home, deciding to keep it is about more than just emotions. You must also be prepared to meet the financial requirements of doing so. Deciding whether you can meet those requirements can be hard when you are going through a divorce, but you do not have to do this alone. You may find that working alongside an experienced attorney who understands your situation can be helpful when making these types of hard decisions.