Should You Keep the House?

 

Despite all of the talk people make about real estate being an investment, most people view their home in emotional terms. It's the place where they fell in love. It's the place where their child took his first steps. It's the place where they celebrated birthdays, Christmases, and special occasions together. The emotional connection makes the home a common point of contention in a Pasadena divorce settlement. However, you must be willing to think about the settlement logically.

If you have children, the judge will likely award the home to the parent with primary custody. The logic behind this is simple. Divorce is traumatic on children, even when the parents have pledged to remain civil. Trying to maintain an element of consistency by allowing the kids to remain in the family home is usually considered the ideal solution.

If you don't have children with your spouse or your children have already left home, the question of who gets the house becomes a little more complicated. If you want to keep the house, remember that a home requires a big financial commitment. Can you pay the mortgage on your own? Can you handle the property taxes and the insurance? If you were counting on two incomes to pay these expenses, you'll have a hard time managing on a single salary.

Home maintenance is another issue to consider as well. If you had a handy spouse who handled basic repairs, you might be shocked by how much it costs to have a professional perform these tasks. Even hiring someone to come mow the lawn or do a thorough weekly cleaning of a large home can be quite expensive when it's not something you normally budget for.

Sometimes, the home is used as a bargaining chip to get one of the parties to give up interests in another marital asset. This is perfectly acceptable, but it's important to make sure the assets are of comparable value. For example, most people have a hard time accurately estimating what a retirement account is worth because they do not understand all of the tax implications associated with the investment. Your Pasadena divorce lawyer can explain the pros and cons of trading your interest in the marital home for another asset.

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