It’s a common impasse couples reach during their divorce: who gets to keep the house. Many, if not most of us have sentimental ties with the house we raised a family in. But amongst other changes already happening in your life because of your divorce, you may not want to have to change your address either. But the real question shouldn’t be ‘who gets the house?’, it should be ‘who can financially afford the house?’. What many divorcing couples fail to do when arguing over the family house is turn off their emotional blinders and think about how they will afford the house. So, before you buy your ex-spouses share of the house, carefully consider the following to ensure you can get (and keep) your house in the divorce from a financial perspective.
Remember, the house doesn’t make it a home…
Your family is what makes a house a home. Yes, your house may hold some very special memories, and moving sounds like a much bigger hassle than just staying put and keeping the house, but you need to eliminate any emotional distractions that are influencing your decisions when it comes to your divorce. You need to carefully review your finances now that you are getting divorced since you are no longer benefiting from two incomes, but one. In the long run, it won’t matter where you live, but as long as you and your family are happy (and financially healthy), that’s all that matters. Don’t break the bank trying to ‘save’ or ‘keep’ your family house if it doesn’t make sense in the long run.
If you have reviewed your finances and 100% ensured that you can afford the mortgage on your own, you can then begin moving forward with negotiating to keep your house.
Evaluate the value of your current house.
Once you’ve determined the present equity and the value of your home, you and your ex-spouse now have a big choice to make – what will happen to the house. If you are set on keeping the house and your partner isn’t, you can easily pay them out of their share of the house. If you are both set on keeping the house and you are both financially able to do so, the decision becomes a little trickier to make. You can either work on coming to a mutual agreement and decide together who will get the house (either on your own or with the help of a mediator or lawyer), or you can both agree to sell the house, and move out.
In some cases, people are willing to sacrifice a lot so they can keep the house, but once again, remember that it’s not always worth it. For many couples, sometimes leaving behind the family house makes it easier to move forward after divorce because once the memories aren’t lurking around every corner the healing process is a little less painful.
You can go to whomever holds your existing mortgage to see if they would increase your mortgage to buy out your ex. If you need help finding financing, we recommend John Panagakos. He is a mortgage broker who focusses on helping people who are separating or divorcing. Here are two links to his website and blog: https://separationmortgages.com/blog/ and https://separationmortgages.com/#get-started
At Galbraith Family Law, we understand the importance of family. When we work with our clients, we want to see them happy with the choices they make, but we also want to see them financially prepared for their future after their divorce. If you are currently going through a divorce and are seeking legal representation or legal advice, our team of lawyers will work hard to ensure your needs are met and your expectations are exceeded. Contact our confidential client care team today to book your consultation by calling our Barrie office at 705-230-2734, our Newmarket office at 289-210-4692, or our Toronto offices at 647-370-8965. We look forward to working with you soon to help eliminate as much stress and worry for you as possible!