If one item causes more divorce disputes than any others, it is the family home. For most couples, this is the most costly item they own. Therefore they assume they need to fight hard to keep.
The best way to view the family home is as a piece of the overall equation. Here is why.
It might not be worth as much as you think
The potential sale price of your house is not its true worth in a divorce. You need to look at the market price minus the outstanding mortgage. For instance, if you bought a luxury five-bedroom place for $1 million and still have 24 years’ worth of mortgage to pay, then the value you are fighting over will be way less than $1 million. A mortgage is a debt, not an asset.
Property is not money you can easily access
Let’s say the actual value of your real estate, once you have discounted what you owe on it, is $300,000. That is a complicated $300,000 to access. It is not something you can cash in tomorrow. If instead, you got the equivalent amount in cash or investments, you could do so more easily.
Your kids might need it
If you have children, you need to consider their well-being when deciding what happens to the house.
The house can provide stability for kids during a difficult transition, especially if they will live with one parent for most of the week. It can help them attend the same school and keep the same friends. Yet it may also act as a constant reminder of the past, now that mom is no longer standing at the garden gate waving them off each morning, or dad is no longer cooking breakfast pancakes at the stove.
A bit of flexibility from both parties can go a long way to making divorce smoother. Finding out more about your legal rights in divorce can help you tread the line between flexibility and standing up for your rights.