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After Divorce, What Happens With The House

After Divorce, What Happens With The House

In all divorce situations, the house is a very important consideration because there are questions that need to be addressed by both sides.  Usually these questions should be put into the top priority file simply because if there are children involved, some sort of continuation of routine needs to be kept up. Everyone needs a roof over their heads and the children, if there are any involved, need to feel that security at this crucial stage of their young lives. Therefore decisions about the house have to be attended to as quickly as possible.

Divorce proceedings will ascertain what is going to be done with the house, therefore the more you can both talk about it beforehand, the quicker this issue can be settled.  If you were both lucky enough to have been the full owners of the house, then there are a few options that are available to you both.

  • ·       You can decide to sell it and split the profits.
  • ·       One of you can buy the other out of their half outright.
  • ·       One of you can just allow the other to have it either for a predetermined period or forever.

It is not an easy decision to make, therefore if you as a couple are still in the warring stages, then help from the court system is the best way to go.  This is only an option if there is no possibility whatsoever  for either of you to talk reasonably about what to do with the house.

Should you decide to want to keep the house, then you need to be sure of your financial obligations and commitments before making this momentous decision.  Always keep in mind that your income is going to be reduced to one income from this point on and so the things to think about are:

  • ·       monthly mortgage payments
  • ·       home maintenance costs
  • ·       insurance premiums
  • ·       property taxes
  • ·       utility bills

Another serious consideration on your part is – do you really want to stay in the area?  Do you want to stay in the same house? Is this where you want to be now that you are about to rebuild a new life for yourself? Are the emotions you are experiencing at the  moment tending toward spiteful or total need?

While the court system and professionals involved in that area know what they are doing, are they the most suitable people to truly determine your future as to what should happen to the house?

Let’s fact it, they have never lived there themselves.  They do not know the qualities of the house you have both shared.  They don’t really know what is involved with the upkeep emotionally, physically or financially.  It was not their money that got you both to this point where the house is involved. They have not been involved with the investment that has got you both this far.

There are personal questions that need answering as well – like is this where you want to live with all of those memories whether good or bad? Is this a house that has been passed down through the generations, therefore are your emotions highly charged concerning this particular house that might be clouding your judgment at the moment?  Are the children on the top of your list of priorities concerning this house? Do they want to stay where they have been growing up for the past few years and remain around the friends they know and trust? Is this where they feel loved and secure?

If you are the one who has to leave the house, then you need to be totally honest with yourself as to the liabilities and commitments you have already racked up in this investment that is now going to become part of your past.  If you decide to leave the house to your children and the other parent and there is still considerable money tied up in the mortgage repayments, can you be sure that your own credit rating will not suffer if, for some unknown reason, the remaining parent does not keep up the current and future payments?

Whether you live in the house or not, the bank or financial institution that you have the mortgage with will want their money on or before the due date every month.  If things are not going how they should with repayments, then how is this going to affect your own chances of starting again and being in a position at another stage to want to lend more money?

There may be a way whereby you can have your name extracted from the legal ownership documents.  That would help your future money lending agreements work out better for you. If you totally trust each other, then promises whether written or verbal can be undertaken, however, in my case I had a verbal agreement with my husband and as soon as he remarried, then he seemed to forget all of that and I was lumbered with financial obligations that I was not prepared for at the time, therefore I would seriously caution you here as to verbal agreements.  Everything you agree to should be put in writing and submitted to legal professionals for endorsement.

Self protection is what needs to be considered at all times.  Protection from further emotional trauma; protection from further financial disaster; protection from further physical harm; protection for peace of mind.

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Debbie Nicholson