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  • Writer's pictureAlan Jacobs

The Best Way to Decide Who Gets the House in a Divorce

If you’ve ever owned a house that you love, you understand on a gut level that your house is more than a bunch of bricks and shingles. It’s more than just a place to live. Your house is your home. It represents stability, security, and status. It’s probably also one of the biggest assets you have.  It’s no wonder then that so many couples do battle over who gets the house in a divorce.

But should they?

Why Does Keeping the House in a Divorce Matter So Much?

Different people have different reasons for wanting to be the one who gets the house in a divorce.

Parents often want to keep the house for their kids. They don’t want their kids to be uprooted at the same time that their family is falling apart. Or they want to make sure they stay in the same school district so that their kids can stay in the same schools.

Spouses without high-paying jobs often want to keep the house because they know that they probably won’t be able to buy a home on their own after a divorce. They wouldn’t qualify for a mortgage. So keeping the marital home may be the only way they can realistically own a home.

Some people want to keep their house because of its financial value. If their house is unique or is in a super desirable area, they may assume it will increase in value. So they want to keep it as an asset. (Although, before you make that assumption, remember what happened in 2008!)

Still other people want to keep their house for less tangible reasons.  Their house may be filled with happy memories. It may be in a neighborhood where they have a lot of friends. Or, if they’ve put a lot of work into their house, they may think of it as “their baby.” Letting go of that baby can be incredibly hard.

No reason for keeping the house in a divorce is necessarily right or wrong. No one reason is better or worse than another.

But, no matter what your reason for wanting to keep the house may be, before you make that decision, you’ve got to ask yourself some important questions.

In this excellent blog posting, Karen Covey writes about questions to ask BEFORE You decide who gets the house in a divorce.

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