Can You Afford to Keep the Home You Shared with Your Ex?

In divorce, one of the largest assets couples must divide is the marital home. This is the home you lived in together as a couple, and it may be where you raised your children. What you and your ex decide to do with the marital home can be one of the biggest (and most emotional) decisions of your divorce.

Need help understanding whether you can afford to keep the house after your divorce? Consult with one of our divorce finance experts.

In a lot of divorces, there is one spouse who really wants to keep the marital home. Maybe the children are still young and you don't want to uproot them. Maybe you simply love the house and don't want to give it up. We get it! But can you afford to keep it?

At Hello Divorce, we continually strive to give you all the resources and information you need to make informed decisions about your divorce. And deciding whether you can afford to keep the marital home is a huge decision!

Here are our top tips for figuring out if you can afford to keep the marital home.

Make a budget for now ... and for the future

While looking at your current budget to decide whether you can afford to keep the marital home is a no-brainer, it's also important to look ahead to see what you may be able to afford. If your spousal support ends in five years, could you still afford your mortgage payment? Are there any major financial events (like a family vacation or college tuition) in your future? Taking a 10,000-foot view of your finances now can help you decide if keeping the marital home is a financially viable option for you.

Weigh all options around keeping or selling your home

Often, when one spouse keeps the marital home after the divorce is finalized, they have a certain amount of time to refinance the mortgage in only their name. This can sometimes be tricky if you have a low credit score or a lower income than your spouse.

But a few options might make sense if you're having trouble transferring the home to your sole ownership, like maintaining joint ownership for a set amount of time (until the children reach a certain age, for instance) or buying out the other spouse by bargaining other assets. Weigh your options and work with your spouse to see if you can to find a solution that works for both of you.

Be honest with yourself about your finances

During divorce, emotions can run high (understandably), and you may find yourself wanting to hold on to something –  anything – to keep a sense of normalcy.

But it's important that you are completely honest with yourself. What are your true reasons for wanting to keep the marital home? Can you really afford it on your current income? Would keeping the house mean sacrificing other goals, like traveling or going back to school? Asking yourself (or a trusted friend) these hard questions can save you sticker shock –  and regret – down the road.

Who gets the house in divorce? How do you split the value? Try our Home Equity Buyout Calculator.

Consult a financial advisor or CDFA

If you find yourself stuck when trying to figure out whether to keep the marital home, it may be time to bring in the big guns. A financial analyst or Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) can review your current finances, discuss your goals for the future, and provide you with an analysis of what you most likely will be able to afford post-divorce. Having a third-party expert look at your finances can help take some of the stress off of you so you can concentrate on moving to the next (better) chapter of your life! If you'd like to book time with a CDFA, you can do that here.

When it comes to deciding if keeping the marital home is the right financial decision for you, having the resources and knowledge to make an informed decision is key. At Hello Divorce, we know that these decisions aren't easy, so we aim to provide you with the support you need during your divorce. Be sure to check out our plans and pricing.

We also have tons of free resources. Here are a couple of our favorites:

Founder, CEO & Certified Family Law Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Insights, Legal Insights
After over a decade of experience as a Certified Family Law Specialist, Mediator and law firm owner, Erin was fed up with the inefficient and adversarial “divorce corp” industry and set out to transform how consumers navigate divorce - starting with the legal process. By automating the court bureaucracy and integrating expert support along the way, Hello Divorce levels the playing field between spouses so that they can sort things out fairly and avoid missteps. Her access to justice work has been recognized by the legal industry and beyond, with awards and recognition from the likes of Women Founders Network, TechCrunch, Vice, Forbes, American Bar Association and the Pro Bono Leadership award from Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Erin lives in California with her husband and two children, and is famously terrible at board games.