“Make sure you keep the house” is something many people going through a divorce hear. While it’s well-meant, it is not necessarily good advice.
Sometimes it makes sense to keep the family home; sometimes it does not. Your home is just one of the many assets you own, so you need to view it in the wider context of the total property division. Keeping the house will likely mean your spouse gets a larger share of other assets.
Here are some choices you have:
1. No one keeps the house
You could agree to sell it, and then the money left over (once you have paid off any outstanding mortgage and fees) can go into the pot to be divided along with other cash assets.
2. You both keep the house
If you and your spouse still have a good relationship but just do not want to be married anymore, this could work, especially if you have enough wealth for each person to get another place. You could retain the property as an investment and rent it out, dividing the costs and income between you.
Even if your relationship is not that amenable, there are occasions when you might want to hold on to the house together for a while. For example, if the property market has plummeted in your area and you do not want to sell at a loss. Or, if you can see that the market looks set to rise soon and neither of you wants to let the other reap all the benefits from the upcoming price rise.
3. You (or your spouse) keep the house
If you agree that one of you will get the house for themselves, you’ll want legal help to understand more. For example, how can one person buy out the other, and how can you go from a joint mortgage to an individual one?
It’s always wisest to have experienced legal guidance throughout your divorce process.