Common divorce questions: staying in your house

Topic: Divorce
Nov 30, 2022

Being in divorce mediation, we get many questions that we end up answering frequently and one of those is whether or not you should stay in your home or simply sell it. It’s a loaded question and the answer depends on a lot of factors – both financial and emotional.

Today, we’re going to focus on the financial end of things. You’d be surprised how quickly one’s emotional attachment to a place can change once financial considerations begin to bear down on them and there’s certainly a lot to think about in this regard. Here are some things you’ll need to ask yourself and consider. Let’s jump right in.

What’s the upfront cost?

This would be categorized as things like your mortgage, utility bills and expected upkeep. Most married couples end up in homes they can afford together and seldom can afford individually. What does the damage look like for you home at the end of the month? Can your budget take it? Can it take other hits like say – a sudden increase in oil/gas prices like we’re facing now? If something needs to be replaced – can you take the unexpected hit? What happens when something goes wrong?

The hidden costs

Homes cost more than the monthly mortgage and utility bills. It requires maintenance. Who is maintaining the yard? What’s that expense look like? How old is your roof? The driveway? These aren’t small repairs. In fact, they can cost in upwards of $10-$30,000 to replace. How old is your furnace? How old is your HVAC system? These are also significant repairs that can cost over $2,000 on the low end as well. And last but not least – what about your appliances? We’re talking about things like your dishwasher, washing machines, dryers and the like. These cost a few hundred-to a few thousand dollars.

So sure, you can pay the mortgage, but if things go south – what’s there to protect you?

How stable is your job and everything else?

Look in uncertain economic times, no one is truly safe, but have you been with your company a long time? Is business going well? We want you to consider this because at the end of the day – you can’t pay the bills if you’re not getting paid.

And look – we want to be clear, here: being able to AFFORD your house doesn’t mean barely scraping by. You have child care expenses (which should be shared with your spouse) to consider, retirement to save for, etc. Don’t dilute your quality of life to being able to stay somewhere for the sake of pride.

Like we said -there’s a lot to think about during a divorce and separation – and what to do with the house is one of the biggest items on the agenda. Hopefully, today’s blog has helped you to consider some of your potential blind spots. And as always – if you need advice, help or Tampa Bay divorce mediation give us a call today! Until then – good luck!