Who Keeps the Home in Your Divorce?
The question of who is going to keep the primary family home is almost always at the heart of a divorce negotiation in Albuquerque (and throughout New Mexico). Besides being an emotional touchstone, the house you shared is frequently the most valuable asset in an estate.
Assessing Your Home’s Value in the Albuquerque Market (and beyond)
Whether you or your spouse plans on keeping the home or should you both agree to sell it, the first step is to settle on an approximate value of the property. Begin with a market analysis and see if you concur on the resultant figure. If you can’t come to an agreement this way, look to a joint or court appointed expert appraisal to determine a value. If selling the home is your plan, have an expectation of how long it will take to sell it and a reasonable prediction of a sales price. A reputable real estate agent familiar with your market can help you stay realistic and keep your divorce on track
Sell Your Home or Keep Your Home After the Divorce?
Who keeps the house, if anyone? You may want to remain in your home for any number of reasons: there are young children who would feel upset and uprooted by a move, or perhaps you have an emotional attachment to the property after years of good memories there.
If on the other hand, you have agreed to sell the house, there are several issues to consider. Who is going to live there while it’s on the market? Who is responsible for getting the house market-ready? Will you split the profits 50/50? What if the house is under water? Envision your best case scenario – and then tell your lawyer. The lawyers here in our Albuquerque firm have vast experience negotiating this emotional and sometimes complex issue.
Can You Afford to Keep Your Home When the Divorce is Over?
If you do decide to fight to keep your home, be sure you can realistically afford it – covering the mortgage, property taxes and maintenance on a single income is often a post-divorce shocker. Here’s what I’ve seen happen time and again: one party fights tooth and nail for the house and gets it. She walks away from the settlement victorious, but only for a brief moment. Because soon enough her ex-wants off the mortgage, forcing her to refinance the property. To her surprise, she doesn’t qualify for a loan on her own so has two unfortunate options: head back to court or lose the house.
Winning the house in settlement and being unable to afford it, or not exploring the exact refinance requirements, can be financially devastating. In order to avoid this common landmine, do your homework early. If you want to keep the house, understand how much money you will need in order to afford it (this will directly affect the amount of alimony you ask for), and what you need to do qualify for the refinance (can you enlist family to help?).
Hammer Out Your Marital Residence Issues Early
In order to save time and money down the road, it is important to have a plan for how to handle the family home early on in the divorce process. Our Albuquerque team can help you gather key information about your home and how to avoid it being a sticking point down the road.