Ask any realtor, and they will quickly tell you that a significant portion
of their business comes from sellers who are in the middle of a
divorce, and there is a very good reason for this. Often, it makes the most sense
for the divorcing parties to sell the marital home and go their separate
ways, but not always.
If you are headed for divorce and you and your spouse own a home, one of
the first questions that will enter your mind is, “What should we
do with the house?” There is no “one size fits all”
answer to this question, because the best answer depends on your individual
In many cases, it’s in the couple’s best interests to sell
the marital home and split the proceeds.
What if one of the spouses wants to stay in the home? Perhaps the spouse
does not want to uproot the children, or perhaps they have many fond memories
from living in the home. In other words, they’re attached and they
do not wish to move.
When a Spouse Wants to Keep the Home
In order for one spouse to remain in the marital home, usually they will
need to refinance the mortgage in their name alone. In order to accomplish
this, the spouse must have the income and credit to qualify for a home
loan in their name alone.
Sometimes a spouse has such a strong desire to stay in the marital home,
that they do not realize that doing so would be a big financial mistake.
When couples divorce, their expenses increase and they are now supporting
two households instead of one. This can be a difficult adjustment at first.
Instead of refinancing, a better option may be selling and moving into
something smaller and more affordable.
Conversely, if staying in the home is feasible, the spouse who wishes to
stay will generally buy their spouse out of their share.
If your spouse wants to remain in the home, we do not recommend that your
name stays on the mortgage. While your soon-to-be ex may be the most trustworthy
person in the world, if they lose their job or become disabled, you would
be on the hook for the payments, no matter what the divorce decree says.
Additionally, if your name stays on the loan, it can make it difficult
for you to qualify for an apartment or a rental home, and it can be impossible
to purchase another home so long as you’re tied to the property.
Is selling a viable option?
Another option is to sell the marital home and split the proceeds with
your spouse. This is the best way to make a clean break. However, this
option will depend on whether you have equity in your home.
If you’re upside-down, you may need to consider renting out the home
until the market warms up, or continuing to live there with your spouse
(this only works for limited number of couples) until you can afford to sell.
If you have further questions about what to do with the marital home in
a divorce, contactJones Law Firm, PC to speak with a Denver divorce attorney!