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Can I keep the family home in my divorce?

A house is often so much more than just four walls and a roof. For many New York families, it is a place to make happy memories and create stability for the future. This is why some women — especially mothers — are eager to keep the family home during a divorce. 

Keeping the home can be a smart move if you are financially able to do so. Like many mothers, you might feel strongly about keeping your children in a familiar environment while they deal with the emotional aspect of your divorce. Or perhaps you are simply very fond of your home and do not want to say goodbye just yet. Either way, here are a few things you should consider. 

How much is your home worth? 

Think you know how much your home is worth? House prices can significantly change over time, so if it has been a while since you bought your home, you might not have a strong grasp on its value. You can rectify this by hiring a professional real estate appraiser to correctly value your house. 

Knowing precisely how much your home is worth is helpful on at least two different fronts. When you know how much it is worth, you will be able to determine whether you can afford a new mortgage in just your own name. A recent appraisal can also eliminate fights with your ex over the home’s value. 

What other costs do I need to consider? 

Yes, you will need to make sure that you can afford the monthly mortgage payment to keep your family home. However, there are many more costs associated with owning a house. These include: 

  • Utilities 
  • Upkeep and maintenance costs 
  • Real estate taxes 
  • Insurance 

You will also need to think about how you are affording these costs. Are you relying heavily on child support or alimony? Since these sources of income are temporary and will eventually run out, you may want to consider how you will manage your house-related expenses otherwise. Securing a mortgage might also be difficult if you are primarily relying on support, although some lenders do offer specialty mortgages for people in this situation. 

Is keeping the house the right investment? 

Even if it does not feel like it, buying a house is a type of investment. Investing can be a great way to set up your financial future. However, investing in a home is not always a great idea if you still have lots of high-interest debt, do not have an emergency fund and have little to nothing in retirement savings. 

Deciding whether to keep the family home is just one of many significant decisions you will need to make during your divorce. It can feel quite overwhelming to wade through this process by yourself, too. If you are feeling worried, educating yourself more about property division, child support and other aspects of New York family law might be helpful.