Dougherty Tobias Iszard, Northern Virginia Law, P.C.

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Should you keep the house after your divorce?

Like many Virginia residents, you may want to keep the family home during your divorce for a variety of reasons. You could feel an emotional connection to the home you raised children in. Maybe it would be too inconvenient or upsetting to move on top of the additional stress caused by your divorce. It could also seem like the best choice to keep the children in a familiar home and school district.

However, is it in your best interests to get the house as a part of the property division agreement? According to Forbes, this may no longer be the beneficial option it was in the past. Before the housing market crash, divorced spouses who got the marital home had a better chance of holding onto a lucrative asset to sell later. Although the housing market has improved, it may be difficult to sell your home at an advantageous price or to find a buyer in a reasonable amount of time. If the conditions of your divorce decree gave your ex-spouse part ownership or determined that you both sell the home, you may find yourself in the middle of a dispute over the selling price or other conditions.

If you end up with complete control over the home and its future options, and you plan to live there indefinitely, is that bad? It depends on your financial stability. Houses have property taxes, utility payments and maintenance expenses. You might still be paying a mortgage and you could have association dues and other fees related to the home. Meanwhile, your ex may have been granted marital assets that are not attached to such expenses.

When it comes to keeping the home, it is wise to consider whether or not you will be able to handle the related expenses. This information should not be taken as legal advice, but should help you understand the potential consequences of keeping the home during your divorce.

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