Most parents will agree that keeping the lives of the children as normal as possible is very important during a divorce. Regardless if the parents are getting joint custody or if both going for sole custody, the life-style and environment “pre divorce” needs to be preserved, or at least some semblance of it. A big part of this, obviously, is the home. But, is keeping such a costly asset a wise decision in the middle of a divorce?
When divorce is first brought up, there are plenty of decisions that must be made. In addition to the children, finances are very high up on the list. In most cases today, homes depend on both parents working. When separation occurs, one spouse usually leaves the home for separate accommodation. Unless that person is staying with a friend or family member free of charge, is it reasonable to expect the household bills to be met when an additional rent or mortgage is added to the equation?
If keeping the home is important to both the children and the parents, the ideal situation would be for the parent that will have the children for the majority of the time to “buy out” the equity in the home by the other parent. In some cases, the home can be refinanced with the funds going to the spouse that is leaving the home. This allows the other spouse to own the home outright and keep the children in the home where they are currently living.
During such a chaotic time, the “family home” may stabilize things for everyone involved. However, being in that home can bring up sad memories, making selling the home the better choice. In cases such as this, making a clean break and starting fresh seems to be a more appealing life choice.
If finances have been tight during the marriage, selling the home may actually be a better financial decision, especially if there is significant equity in the home. Both spouses are able to walk away from the marriage without the burden of a mortgage and have funds at their disposal to start anew. This is a decision that should not be taken lightly and realistically, may require consultation with your divorce attorney and real estate broker to decide the best course of action.
Child custody during divorce is usually a driving force behind the retention of the family home. If this is the case, the home should be appraised to find fair market value. This way, the spouse that is being bought out will be able to receive adequate funds for his or her share of the home.