In my experience, many wives tend to want to keep the marital house in their divorce settlement, for a multitude of reasons. When there are minor children involved, the primary reason why wives want to keep the house is for the sake of their children, because oftentimes the house is the only home that they have ever known. Moms are very reluctant to want to have to possibly change their children’s schools. They want to maintain some stability in their children’s lives in the face of divorce. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having such views, and it is quite commendable that such parents wish to put their children first.
However, once the initial impact of a divorce filing has taken place, both parties must look at the big picture on all issues of property division, child and spousal support, and incomes. The decision as to whether to keep the marital house has to be a sound one, because it will have financial ramifications for many years to come.
If a party wishes to keep the marital house and there is equity in the property, that party will have to buy out the other party’s interest in the property and likely be able to financially qualify for a refinanced mortgage on their own removing the other party from the mortgage. The mortgage company is not going to simply just remove the other party off the mortgage. The reality is that the other party is not going to be willing to remain on the existing mortgage because of the possibility of default by the party keeping the house, and also because it affects the debt ratio of the other party that will directly impact their ability to purchase their own home.
A party wishing to keep the house must also be honest with themselves and look at what their anticipated monthly budget will be, including support. Home ownership involves payment of the mortgage, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and homeowner’s association dues, and those expenses will eat up a substantial chunk of your monthly budget.
Moreover, what about the cost of maintaining the home? If there is a sudden, unexpected home repair such as a pipe bursting or a slab leak, there needs to be some certainty that such repairs can be paid for. If the home is older, the roof may need to be replaced at some point, and depending on where you live, that expense alone could be a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.
Finally, there are other regular costs involved in home ownership, such as gardening and cleaning. Do you really have the time and energy to do it yourself? If you don’t, do you really have the budget to afford someone else to do it for you?
These are all important questions to ask yourself when deciding whether you really want to keep the house. A home is more than just a structure, it is the source of past happy memories and emotional attachment, but you must divorce yourself from your house and be able to make an objective decision as to what is best for you financially, and that may include selling the house.
If you are planning to go through with divorce mediation proceedings, and you are located in Orange County or anywhere else in California, you should seek the assistance of a reliable California divorce mediator. For further information or to schedule a consultation with California Divorce Mediators, please call (949) 553-0911 or visit www.cadivorcemediators.com. California Divorce Mediators is an experienced Orange County Divorce Mediation and Family Law firm serving the Orange County and Riverside areas and neighboring counties, serving individuals, couples and families with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, spousal support, child support and child custody issues. As Orange County divorce mediators and Orange County divorce lawyers, we have the experience to help you decide if divorce mediation is a good option for you and your situation.